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December 31, 2009

Vol 7 • No 51

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.

More big ideas

On recycling, education and more

Big ideas

The Jan. 7 issue of the Arkansas Times is our yearly Natives Guide, a guide to life in Pulaski County. Our regular issue will return Jan. 14. Here: Big ideas, about schools, gardening, bocce and more.

What about the full body scan?

Bipartisan congressional opposition blocked full-scale deployment of such machines previously. Is it now time for airport travelers to bare all?

An Ark. tribute to Hillary Clinton?

A reader sends along a link to a story this week about plans in Houston, Texas to erect a statue honoring former Secretary of State James Baker (his long service to Bush family political causes is, of course, important to rich Houstonians.)

Counting down the year

Second to last open line of the year, right here. I hope to be able to post tonight a sad story about the state's child welfare system.

Satellite explores dinner frontier

Based on a couple of recent visits, it appears dinner hasn’t yet caught on at Satellite Cafe. We’re not sure why.

Dec. 23-29, 2009

It was a GOOD week for: AMERICA. The Senate passed health reform legislation on Christmas Eve, a small but important step toward universal care. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor voted in the majority.

Joubert’s ‘offended’

I am responding to your recent review of my establishment, Joubert’s Tavern. As a longtime reader and supporter of the Arkansas Times, I regret to write this letter.

Eye On Arkansas, Dec. 31

SLOGGING ON: A flooded-out car didn't stop another from attempting the same perilous passage on Arch Street Pike on Christmas Eve. The week's downpour pushed Little Rock well over the record for annual rainfall, nearly 80 inches, with more coming.

The cutting-room floor

You’ve probably pictured it in your head before.

The game’s afoot!

It’s almost a given that someone is going to be horrified by the end product any time a filmmaker takes on a beloved fictional character and tries to bring him to three-dimensional life — Batman, Frodo and Gandalf, et al.

Words, Dec. 31

President Obama, during the debate over his health-care reform bill:

New Year’s Eve need-to-knows

Just about every club and venue in town is throwing down in some fashion for New Year’s Eve — check In Brief (page 21) and the calendar (page 22) for a comprehensive round up — but these events look to be the throwdowns to end all throwdowns.

This Modern World, Dec. 31

What's Cookin', Dec. 31

Guillermo’s Coffee House at 10700 Rodney Parham Road (next door to Chili’s) will add homemade soups to the menu after the first of the year, owner Hans Oliver says.

In Brief, Dec. 31

At Denton’s Trotline in Benton, Michael Shipp, who was a member of Tres Hombres along with Billy Bob Thornton, plays a tuneful blend of Southern rock and blues, 8 p.m., free.

King Chamber

"Evening shadows make me blue …” an old song begins, but in Little Rock, it’s Chamber shadows that make us blue.

The first game of the 2010 season

You know there’s too much debate about a watercooler subject if it has its own congressional subcommittee.

Smart Talk, Dec. 31

Mike Huckabee’s new collection of Christmas memories, “A Simple Christmas,” was on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list for the fifth week last week, at No. 14, in a virtual tie for 13th.

Nixon’s plan revived

SAN FRANCISCO — The rheumy-eyed fellow at the end of the brunch table at the Tivoli inn on Christmas morning sounded more and more like a noisy Forrest Gump.

The city’s shame

City Manager Bruce Moore should have been ashamed to join the Christmas party last week at the city landfill.

To-Do List, Dec. 31

Underclaire, Ashtray Babyhead, Alejandro Escovedo, Auto Extravaganza, 'The Bloodstone Diaries," Whale Fire, Lil Wayne and Midlake are this week's top picks.

Another line of work

David Sanders, the former Stephens Media columnist and AETN public affairs program host, found himself abruptly out of work recently when Stanley Reed of Marianna dropped a week-old campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on account of health concerns.

Judge Burnett’s blunders

It says so in the state Constitution. A sitting judge who seeks a non-judicial political office automatically vacates the judgeship when he files for the other office.

Is it legal? Will it open?

Jackie Y. Jackson, the originator of the all-boy charter school that got the OK to open its doors in July from the board of the state Department of Education two weeks ago, doesn’t believe the restrictions placed by the board on the school are legal.

Orval, Dec. 31

New Year’s Eve need-to-knows

Just about every club and venue in town is throwing down in some fashion for New Year’s Eve — check In Brief (page 21) and the calendar (page 22) for a comprehensive round up — but these events look to be the throwdowns to end all throwdowns.

Rez for ’10

Some modest resolutions for the coming year.

The Observer, Dec. 31

O come all ye faithful.

'Resting comfortably'

That's the latest on Rush Limbaugh, admitted to a hospital in Hawaii after experiencing chest pains.

Good riddance to the decade

Not much to cheer in the 00s, John Brummett concludes. Maybe the next 10 will be better.

Your tax dollars at work

The Democrat-Gazette today (sub. reqd.)

This week's Times

It's all around you, but a further plug for this week's Arkansas Times: * Bob Lancaster does his annual review of the high and low (mostly low) lights of 2009.

Tiger's tail toll

Add AT&T to the list of Tiger Woods' dropped sponsorships.

Fire at Oyster Bar

Don't head to Stifft Station for lunch today. The venerable Oyster Bar will be closed.

City hall closes early

Little Rock City Hall closes early today, at noon. Why?

Mike Huckabee's record on Clemmons

This is old news to readers here, but I thought this recent web posting illustrates the problem Mike Huckabee faces in the future in spinning his clemency decision in the case of apparent cop killer Maurice Clemmons.

Mike Huckabee's record on Clemmons

This is old news to readers here, but I thought this recent web posting illustrates the problem Mike Huckabee faces in the future in spinning his clemency decision in the case of apparent cop killer Maurice Clemmons.

NLR bank robbed

J. Pat Lynch has been full of news tips this morning, from his careful police radio monitoring and other sources.

Shades of Lou Holtz

Razorback Coach Bobby Petrino has suspended three players from participation in the Liberty Bowl. It means the end of careers for two starters, Matt Harris and Wendel Davis.

NYE To-Dos: Peabody, Justin Moore, Ben Nichols, Frown Pow'r, Magic Hassle, much, much more

Ben Nichols, at WWT. Just about every club and venue in town is throwing down in some fashion for New Year's Eve, but these events look to be the throwdowns to end all throwdowns.

Lost in the child welfare system

News coverage has hinted at further stories about the child welfare system underlying the death of Hannah Grace Dowdie, the 23-month-old whose burned body was found with that of her father Michael Palmer earlier this month in a pickup truck near Sweet Home in rural Pulaski County.

Break out Guy Lombardo

It's the New Year's Eve open line.

Obama's TSA nominee: Trouble

Pretty smelly incident -- even if old -- on the man nominated by President Obama to head the Transportation Security Administration.

Hangover relief

With local rock quartet, Underclaire, which celebrates the release of a new album at Sticky Fingerz.

2010 - YEAR OF THE TIGER

  The Chinese New Year begins on February 14 – Year of the Tiger / Fixed Element Wood.

Propaganda as journalism

A page-one article in today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette refers to the expiration of the estate tax.

Politicians as judges

A weighty subject, but worth reading by followers of federal courts, is undertaken on Linda Greenhouse's blog.

Republican cannibalism

Republicans have a solid candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Illinois. Naturally, he is being savaged by a wackjob.

Who knew?

That it would be all but impossible to find a parking place at Park Plaza at 10:30 a.m. on New Year's Day?

Noodles and Black Eyed Peas.

The new year is upon us, and we're blessed with the foods that are rumored to bring prosperity to our new year.  Following our hungry appetites, the hubster and girlchild and I found ourselves at Lilly's DimSum for a lunch of fortunate food guaranteed to bring us a lucrative and well-fed year in 2010.

Football and ...

I'm going to be out of pocket. Those of you near computers, take over.

Keeping score on Clinton

The Associated Press doesn't let a minute elapse without recording the maximum information about contributors to the Clinton Foundation, fighting AIDS, poverty and for a better environment, all over the world.

The first game of the 2010 season

Considering a playoff and gauging the Hogs chances against East Carolina.

The worst of 2009

John Brummett writes that it was the rise of the robo-call. In case you don’t know what I mean, it’s this: Your land-line phone rings.

How was your decade?

Over time, nothing beats the stock market. So the oldest investing story goes.

Hang up the *&%@ phone!

Good news in the New York Times. Momentum is building for laws to restrict -- I hope prohibit -- use of phones while driving.

The Quapaw paradox

A regular blog reader sends along a tidbit on the Duggar clan. Because the premature birth of their 19th child in an emergency C-section requires extended hospitalization, the family has leased a home in Little Rock so they can stay close.

The line is open

Go Hogs. Etc.

Satellite explores dinner frontier

Menu is worth discovery.

Powerball winner

It's a happy day for somebody in Arkansas. He or she holds a $25 million ticket in yesterday's Powerball drawing.

Sound familiar to you?

From the New York Times: Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things.

Corporate welfare clawbacks

Arkansas -- where it's an article of faith that it makes sense to take local sales taxes on poor folks' rice and beans to finance fat salaries for the dubious achievements of high living and unaccountable chambers of commerce and economic development corporations -- this movement won't be coming any time soon.

Girl from the north country fair

Jason Tolbert reveals that Sarah Palin is coming to North Little Rock, apparently for a $175-a-head fund-raiser for the Arkansas Republican Party.

Henry Woods dies at 58

Long-time Arkansas congressional aide Henry Woods died today at 58, Skip Rutherford's Twitter feed reports.

Powerball winner clue

Sounds like the $25 million Powerball winner picked yesterday may have been sold at the Crackerbox 25 store in Mayflower.

The line is open

And I'm heating up the vegetable soup. Hey, how about this?

Celebrate The New Year, Again.

Who says you can't improve your luck?  Enjoy lots of great delicacies to ring in the Asian New Year February 13th and celebrate the coming of the Year of the Tiger.  A nine course banquet will be presented at New Asia Chinese Restaurant in Maumelle that evening starting at 5:30 p.m.

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.

Back to work -- late

SNOW FALLING ON ARKANSAS: Don Nelms of Jasper sends along a photo he took yesterday.

Obama: a 'vacuum'

John Brummett reviews President Obama and his administration's reaction to the underpants bomber and finds it wanting.

American export: Hate

The New York Times reports on how so-called evangelical Christians from the U.S. have been influential in the drive to make homosexual acts punishable by death in Uganda and otherwise helped create a lynch-mob climate in the country, a darling of the Bush administration and other so-called Christians like Rick Warren.

New hand for GOP candidate

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Curtis Coleman has a new political director, Matt Lagrone. Lagrone is, Coleman will have you know, an "avid outdoorsman."

Cuppa Burnin' Love.

I've been doing a little early morning research as of late... after a reader suggested that I don't get out and do breakfast enough.  Well, dear readers, I hope to fix that this week with a selection of blogs on several Central Arkansas breakfast locations.

More music for heavy readers

Rock Candy's favorite creator of niche mixes/podcasts can't stop/won't stop. Charles Wyrick has a new book mix over at Lucky Dog Audio Post (actually, I'm catching up from the break; it's been up a minute).

Two shot in Las Vegas courthouse

Two federal agents were shot in a federal courthouse in Las Vegas today. It is brutally coincidental that the headline comes not long after release of a Justice Department report indicating threats against federal judges and prosecutors have doubled over the last six years.

Kanye West enters his Maya Angelou phase

From Kanye's blog (shocker he writes in the royal "we," huh?): IT'S FUNNY HOW SO MANY RAPPERS GET WORSE AS THEIR CAREERS STRETCH OUT BUT TRUE POETS GET BETTER.  WE WILL  FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF MAYA ANGELOU, GILL SCOTT HERRON AND NINA SIMONE.

Clinton Foundation givers

NPR follows up (better link) on the release of contributors to the Clinton Foundation and notes that this report is not just 2009 givers, but ALL donors to the foundation.

Calling City Hall

The New York Times today features a web invention in use by some newspapers in the East that provides an easy way -- map-based -- for people to report concerns to local governments (potholes, etc.) and get feedback.

No lottery winner yet

The $25 million Powerball winner has not stepped forward yet. He/she must still be meeting with a tax lawyer/accountant.

No lottery winner yet

The $25 million Powerball winner has not stepped forward yet. He/she must still be meeting with a tax lawyer/accountant.

Tim Griffin campaigners

Republican Tim Griffin announces a couple of his campaign hands today for his race for 2nd District Congress.

Tomorrow's news: Money

The state will release its monthly revenue report tomorrow. I can't wring any specifics out of the powers that be.

McDaniel nixes pot proposal

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected a proposed ballot initiative to legalize use of medical marijuana in Arkansas because of a misleading and partisan title and other perceived deficiencies.

$500,000 winner in Rogers

In addition to the still unannounced $25 million powerball winner, Arkansas has a $500,000 instant winner -- a Rogers woman, Tammy Johnson -- in the $10 Jackpot scratchoff game.

More news on Fox 16

This is good news in the shrinking news era. Beginning Jan. 18, Fox 16 will add a 10 p.m. newscast to go head-to-head against other Little Rock stations.

You're up

The line is open.

Is it legal? Will it open?

Jackie Y. Jackson, the originator of the all-boy charter school that got the OK to open its doors in July from the board of the state Department of Education two weeks ago, doesn't believe the restrictions placed by the board on the school are legal.

Another Supreme Court candidate

An e-mail this morning sends a link to what apparently will be a third candidate in the race for Arkansas Supreme Court, Position 6, vacated by Annabelle Imber's retirement.

The passion of the 'baggers

David Brooks in the NY Times makes a strong case for the rise of the Tea Party movement as an important force in national politics, particularly in the Republican Party.

An interesting race for Senate

No, not for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln's seat. Blytheville Mayor Barry Harrison (pictured) is just about officially in the Democratic primary race to succeed term-limited state Sen. Steve Bryles.

Remember James Riady?

The Indonesian banker James Riady, banned from the U.S. for a guilty plea in a Clinton campaign finance scandal in 2001, has managed to work his way back onto American soil for brief visits, including a call on Rex Horne, president of Ouachita Baptist University, which gave Riady an unnnounced honorary degree in 2004.

Harding gift to UCA

Rush Harding, the UCA board chairman and investment company executive, and his wife Linda have pledged a $500,000 gift to the University of Central Arkansas.

Mamma's Makin' Breakfast.

You gotta give credit to a place that actually has on its menu the listing "Green Eggs-n-Ham."  No kidding, there it is, complete with byline "includes home fries and biscuit or toast 7.95."  If that doesn't wake you up with a smile, I don't know what will.

Blanche Lincoln is running

The arrival of 2010 has put U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln in full campaign mode, not a minute too soon.

Arkansas money woes

The state revenue report for December is out. It's bad.

Arkansas money woes

The state revenue report for December is out. It's bad.

Deadline looming for 2010 Musicians Showcase

We've gotten a strong response from our call for local acts to enter our annual battle of the bands.

Obamas invest in Arkansas

Leslie Newell Peacock's art notes blog reports that the Obamas apparently have decided to purchase a sculpture (above) by Little Rock's Susan Williams.

Air security for dummies

Does it creep you out when you open your suitcase and find a greeting card that the TSA has rifled through your stuff?

Jim Holt to make Senate race

It would appear to be official -- $20,000 or so of fund-raising and, I suppose, word from on High, has encouraged Jim Holt, the former state senator and two-time loser at statewide races, to enter the crowded Republican primary race for U.S. Senate to oppose incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln.

Razorbacks add Fortson to roster

When push comes to shove, most Razorback coaches have put the studs back on the field or court for critical games.

Razorbacks add Fortson to roster

When push comes to shove, most Razorback coaches have put the studs back on the field or court for critical games.

The Tuesday night line

It's open.

To-Do

Alejandro Escovedo is a bad ass. He wears big black sunglasses on stage and plays a swaggering brand of rock 'n' roll that embraces the genre in all its fullness. Which means his music can sound punked-up here, honky-tonked there and '60s-era guitar pop-y everywhere else.

Congressional sea change

Washington Post article notes that, while most of the attention has been on Democrats, more Republicans have announced plans to retire from Congress this year.

No time for taxes

A highway revenue (taxes) panel continues it works and seems to focus on either a wholesale excise tax (up to a whopping 6 percent) or a gallon-tax pegged to an inflation index (a plan that would have added 9 cents to a gallon of gas over the last four years, according to one study).

El Desayuno Huevos

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more eye-opening breakfast than that served at Casa Manana.  Forget pancakes and bacon; the restaurant's fine selection of egg dishes come complete with tortillas, beans and enough heat to get you through a cold day like today.

El Desayuno Huevos

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more eye-opening breakfast than that served at Casa Manana.  Forget pancakes and bacon; the restaurant's fine selection of egg dishes come complete with tortillas, beans and enough heat to get you through a cold day like today.

My religion is better than yours

Fox news analyst Britt Hume's proselytizing of Tiger Woods -- Hume said Christianity offers Woods redemption and forgiveness, Buddhism and presumably other religions don't -- continues to spur widespread commentary.

Mark Darr to challenge Halter

Republican Mark Darr, who owns a pizza restaurant in Rogers, says he'd "met his fund-raising goal" and will make official his plans to run for lieutenant governor against incumbent Democrat Bill Halter.

Wednesday To-Do: Alejandro Escovedo

ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO9 p.m., Juanita's. $15 adv., $18 d.o.s.Alejandro Escovedo is a bad ass.

Racing to the top

In case you wondered: both Little Rock and Pulaski County school boards have scheduled special meetings at 5 p.m. tonight to consider applications for federal Race to the Top grants.

COBRA subsidy extended

The state Insurance Department today announced extension of federal COBRA subsidies to cover people who lose jobs the first two months of 2010.

UPDATE: Doctor indicted in bombing

U.S. Attorney Jane Duke has scheduled a news conference at 3:30 p.m. today about the federal case against Dr. Randeep Mann (pictured) and his wife, Sue.

Lincoln polls still lag

Another round of Rasmussem robopolling produces more poor numbers for U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln -- 38 percent would support her.

607 and Bobby need their own channel

Love the dramatic toss of the bow to the ground! And the transitions!If Six isn't doing weekly remixes anymore, weekly videos from Tillman HQ works for me.Oh yeah, the brothers Tillman perform at Juanita's on Thursday at Ear Fear, 9 p.m.
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