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March 20, 2008

Vol 6 • No 10

Wildwood blooming

There’s new life stirring at Wildwood Park.

Signs of life

Three years ago, the Northwest Arkansas music scene slipped into faint existence with hardly a whimper.

Spring sings

Maybe it’s just me, but once the daylight hours start to stretch out, the weather turns and the birds start chirping, I’m ready to roll my sleeves up and sweat it out to some live music.

Five spring albums to anticipate

Coming out this spring.

Spring sings

Maybe it’s just me, but once the daylight hours start to stretch out, the weather turns and the birds start chirping, I’m ready to roll my sleeves up and sweat it out to some live music.

Five spring albums to anticipate

Coming out this spring.

The post-racial Obama

I think it's safe to say that the reaction to the Obama speech has been overwhelmingly positive.

Star power in legislative races

John Edwards, facing Jeff Dailey in the Democratic primary race for a Little Rock House district generally north of Cantrell Road from the Heights west, has a lot of firepower on the invitation for a fund-raiser next week, including the rising House Speaker Robbie Wills.

Clinton's datebook

According to this, you can trot down to the Clinton Library for a CD-ROM containing 11,000 pages of scheduling information for Hillary Clinton during her time as first lady.

Huckabee defends Obama's pastor

Read all about it. If anyone knows about the dangers of getting caught up in the emotion of sermonizing and expressing things a little more colorfully than might be wise ....

Plot thickens in Glasgow case

Talk Business catches a federal financial filing Wednesday evening by Dillard's Inc., that has a bearing on the case of John Glasgow (pictured), the missing chief financial officer of CDI Contractors, a construction firm half-owned by Dillard's.

Q&A: Pat Bradley

Razorback fans will of course remember Pat Bradley as one of the Hogs' top all-time bombers.

The ethics of bracketology

Millar v. Bradley I If you're a true Razorback fan and your bracket pool buy-in isn't high stakes (a different number for everyone, but something financially significant), you're morally obligated to pick the Hogs all the way through.

In this post-racial world

Now that Barack Obama has moved the discussion of racial differences into the collective living room, go to this website for a frank look at Stuff White People Like.


A posting error makes this item a little late, but: I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby won't be practicing law in Washington, D.C., anymore: A three-judge panel took his license away earlier this a.m.

Wally Hall, cultural guide

Loved seeing Wally Hall suggest things for visiting basketball fans to do in his column this morning.(Copy and past link: of usual suspects: the Clinton library, Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Old Mill, Big Dam Bridge, MacArthur Park (home to three great museums, says Wally) and Central High.

New media

For those of you who only read the Times online, here's a special plug for David Koon's media column this week.

They're here

From our window on the world, we're seeing buses of basketball players being escorted to Alltel Arena by police cars, sirens blaring.

Thursday To-Do: Big Downtown Thursday

BIG DOWNTON THURSDAY5:30 p.m., River Market Pavilion. $5.

'Black Magic'

One of the last things Max did before shipping out for vacation in China was to recommend a new documentary now appearing on ESPN.

Local James Beard semi-finalists

Two Little Rock chefs are semi-finalists for a James Beard award, the highest culinary honor in the industry.

Update: Nick's Bar-B-Q & Catfish

NICK’S BAR-B-Q & CATFISH Years ago, before the Interstate, before McDonald’s and KFC, there were locally owned restaurants on Arkansas highways that became semi-famous to travelers.

Thursday To-Do: The Lions

THE LIONS9 p.m., Juanita's. $7.

Thursday: Limbeck, Ted Ludwig and Rodney Block

Limbeck The SXSW gravy train is about dried up. But before it's all sopped, here come Limbeck, from the real O.C. They play sunny, hook-heavy pop-rock that sounds like it could easily be the soundtrack to a spring night of drinking.

Petitioners: Hendrix must go

A group trying to oust City Director Erma Hendrix has announced it will submit a petition asking a recall election to City Hall at 3:30 p.m. today.

Water, water everywhere, but ...

Flooding has damaged water supply the cities of Leslie (Searcy County) and Newark (Independence), and the Arkansas National Guard has been called in to supply 5,000 gallon tanks of water to the communities.

Still tickets

The good folks at Alltel just delivered this release: There are still a limited number of tickets available for the 1st session tomorrow.11:30am (10) St. Mary's vs.

Attention deficit

I’m about to embark on the most exotic trip of my life.

Hogs post big win, dismal loss in 24-hour period

I’m not sure if I can recover from this weekend by Friday’s first-rounder, much less the team that actually played the basketball.

Desperate and confused:

Ken Parker saw a letter in the daily paper that said “Rush Limbaugh and his far-right bunch are probably gnashing their wrists … ” Parker writes: “Let’s hope they don’t start slashing their teeth.”


I’m pretty bummed. We tried so hard to get a story for the Sierra Club’s Energy Shift music show in your paper last weekend.

A court officer takes up the paddle

The Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is looking into allegations that a juvenile probation officer in Forrest City has been physically disciplining children under his supervision — spanking them with a leather belt and a paddle — ove

Put on the gloves

In a happy coincidence, to enjoy two new exhibits in the River Market district, you’ll need white gloves.

Kevin Gordon

The recent death of the alt-country bible “No Depression” is due, in part, to the lack of depth of the genre the rag served to further.

Smart Talk, March 20

The New York Times last week reported that Eric Woolson, Mike Huckabee’s Iowa campaign manager, was offering a heckuva deal on “Huckabee for President” T-shirts.

What's cooking, March 20

Two Little Rock chefs are semi-finalists for a James Beard award, the highest culinary honor in the industry.

Week of infamy

Every day brought a new outrage: Rats gobbled up food meant for the poor people of southwest Arkansas.

A green light for e-STEM traffic

Traffic at Third and Louisiana streets has been pretty sleepy for the past several years, thanks to vacant buildings.

Observer, March 20

The thousands of birds you’ve seen flitting from tree to tree in every neighborhood lately are cedar waxwings.

Hop stop tops

Wailing “Let’s Go to the Hop,” Arkansas Times staffers filed downstairs last week to give the Hop a run.

Neo-soul revival

Traveling to bigger metropolitan areas inevitably provokes “If only Little Rock had _____” discussions.

About a man’s religion

Presidential candidates cannot be held accountable for everything their supporters and associates say and do. And it’s very tricky to start judging another man’s religion.

‘Sing, Dance, Repeat!’

Seeing a large group of 10- to 23-year-olds sing and dance, repeatedly, for nearly two hours, is a prospect many of us would shrink from.

Black Mountain

When hundreds of pudgy, unshaven, but ultimately clean-cut dudes (read: college kids) join dozens of grown folks who rarely go out on a Tuesday night, to stand close to the stage and pump fists, it’s a sign: There is a massive hunger for indie rock in Cen

Death of the zombies

Likely the final installment in the “Dead” series, “Diary of the Dead” fails to live up to George Romero’s reputation.

Orval, March 20

Bucket list

One of the loser presidential candidates was yocking up his Bucket List recently, and it saddened me a little to think that I don’t even have one.

Magazine rack

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is in the final stages of adding a new magazine to its stable, a glossy lifestyle publication that sources say is aimed at the niche currently occupied by magazines like Inviting Arkansas and Soiree.

Editorial cartoon, March 20

To-do list, March 20

Big Downtown Thursday, The Lions, Ben Nichols, Rock 'n' Roar, Mike Epps, Community Easter Sunrise Service, Epiphany and One Night Stand, Hector Faceplant, The Dirtbombs and Joshua Bell are all happening this week.

Political operator

Tim Griffin, the controversial former interim U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is back on the public scene — and eager to kill an increase in the severance tax on natural gas.

March 12-18, 2008

It was a good week for … The HOGS. The men’s basketball team knocked off Tennessee and Vanderbilt to reach the finals of the SEC Tournament.

Put on the gloves

In a happy coincidence, to enjoy two new exhibits in the River Market district, you’ll need white gloves.

In brief, March 20

Spring arts calendar

Music, theater, events and more spring flinging.

Spring offers a film feast

Last year, the first annual Little Rock Film Festival impressed any film nut lucky enough to swing by.

AP: Richardson endoring Obama

The Associated Press says New Mexico's Bill Richardson is endoring Barack Obama.

We're No. 3!

In a front-page article chronicling how the housing collapse is affecting small-to-medium-sized banks across the nation, this morning's Wall Street Journal carries a chart that lists Arkansas as No. 3 in mortgage delinquency rates in the fourth quarter of 2007.We trail only Michigan and Ohio in the Journal's listing.

4-3 vote taps Watson for LRSD

It had been clear for awhile that the four-member majority on the Little Rock School Board had no real intention of conducting a national search for a new superintendent, and last night they made it official.

Friday To-Do: Ben Nichols

BEN NICHOLS9 p.m., White Water Tavern. $5.

Q&A: Jim Harris

With the Hogs playing for their first NCAA tournament win of the 21st century tonight (!), it's time to bring in a true Razorback expert: Arkansas Sports 360 editor Jim Harris.

Trip 7 Film competition

There's a new film contest in town. The Trip 7 Film Competition runs from May 3-10.

Special Session

Roby Brock's Talk Business blog is reporting that Governor Beebe has called a special session on the gas severance tax:BEEBE CALLS SPECIAL SESSION FOR SEVERANCE TAXAt a mid-morning press conference, Governor Mike Beebe announced plans to call a special session to raise Arkansas' severance tax on natural gas.  Beebe says that he wants to start the session on March 31st.The Governor has stated previously and publicly that he would not call for an extraordinary session until he was certain that he had the necessary three-fourths majority vote from both legislative chambers to approve a tax hike.  Raising the severance tax will require the approval of 27 State Senators and 75 State Representatives.Beebe has proposed a 5% severance tax rate tied to the market value of natural gas with limited exemptions for certain types of drilling.  Gas industry representatives have signed onto the agreement.  The estimated tens of millions in new tax revenues would be largely dedicated to road improvements at the state and local level.For more information, visit

Block 2 shooting now a homicide

One of the two men shot early Tuesday morning at an apartment in the Block 2 lofts died yesterday, making him the 10th homicide victim in Little Rock this year.

Obama's passport files breached

Only Bush and henchmen have a right to privacy. CNN is reporting that contract employees in the State Department have been snooping through Barack Obama's passport files.

Money talking

Alltel Corp.'s loss of $525 million for the fourth quarter last year on expenses related to the sale of the company was reported this morning.

Of course they do

All that hype about Wal-Mart going green? Forget it.

The heat is on ...

... and Obama supporters are saying outloud that Hillary is untrustworthy.

Friday To-Do: 'Sing, Dance, Repeat!'

'SING, DANCE, REPEAT!'7 p.m., the Rep. $15.Read a review of the show here.Just about every professional theater company in the country has an educational program aimed at young artists, says Nicole Capri, the director of education at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre.

Friday To-Do: Eric Roberson

SOUL'D WITH ERIC ROBERSON9 p.m., Juanita's. $15-$40.

Raise your hand if you like muddy water

Tetra Tech, the firm hired by Central Arkansas Water to make recommendations on how to keep Lake Maumelle and our drinking water clean, says that provisions in Pulaski County's draft ordinance on watershed protection will expose the lake to "substantially higher risks" than CAW's own plan.

The Weekend: Randy Rogers Band, Jonathan Wilkins, Machina

The Randy Rogers Band FRIDAY 3/21Gritty, sing-a-long Texas country act the Randy Rogers Band headlines at Revolution, 9 p.m., $15.At the Afterthought, it's local party band  favorite Tragikly White, 9 p.m., $7.Cruisin' in the Rock, the monthly showcase of muscle cars, street rods, classic cars, trucks and motorcycles, is in Riverfront Park, 6 p.m., free.

Saturday To-Do: Mike Epps

MIKE EPPS8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $39.50.

Saturday To-Do: Rock 'n' Roar

Big Cats. Photo by Matthew Martin.

Challah Back Girl

Well, it's been quite a while since I last posted. Things like, oh, taking part of the bar exam, getting a bad stomach flu, and just general business have kept me away.

Slam some dunks

...Or whatever. We're anticipating a slow night around here, particularly after 8:30, and seems like everybody who could left work early today, so might as well get our open line started early too.

86-72 Arkansas

Woo pig. On to North Carolina.

All the hoopla

Yes, we know that basketball is not generally considered one of the arts, though dyed-in-the-wool fanatics might argue otherwise.

Sunny Days!

Wow, it's a lot more fun when you win these games! The Good Hogs certainly came to play tonight, firing on all cylinders in a most impressive 86-72 win over Indiana.

Washing away

North Arkansas just can't catch a break. Tornadoes last month, and now 35 counties declared disaster areas because of flooding.

He hearts Huckabee

Today, anyway. Brummett approves of the tolerant, generous Huck who defended Barack Obama's pastor this week on MSNBC.

Something in common with Texas

A registered sex offender is running for mayor of Wilmer, Texas, a small suburb of Dallas.

Bugging out

The results of a survey of parents conducted by UALR for the Little Rock School District are in.

Saturday night open line

Getting an early start again tonight. What's on your mind?

Daugherty on LR supt. pick

Max here briefly, checking e-mail for the first time since arriving in China. (That was not I, but someone using my sign-in on some items last week.)The mail happened to include a note from LR School Board member Micheal Daugherty, commenting on the reaction to the board's decision, 4-3, to give Linda Watson the superintendent's job on a permanent basis.I'm outta here again.

An Easter miracle

Is what Hog fans are hoping for in about 45 minutes.Meanwhile, some shots from Brian Chilson of the sea of blue-clad Memphis fans doing a little holy rolling of their own earlier today on the north side of the river:And then this, from the "What would Jesus pay" files (face value, we're sure):

Explosion in Booneville

About 180 people who live near the Cargill meat packing plant in Booneville are being evacuated after an explosion at the plant earlier this afternoon that involved an ammonia tank.



Beijing duck

While the U.S. fixated on NCAA basketball, people in Beijing flocked to traditional Sunday duck dinners.

The End of an Era

Well, that was ugly (but not at all unexpected). I was hoping for a build-on-it-for-next-year type of moral victory like the 1993 loss to the Tar Heels, but any hopes for that vanished about two minutes into the game.


DBI mentioned it in a comment, but it's a milestone that deserves its own post: The Associated Press is reporting that the U.S. death toll in Iraq is now over 4,000.

Wildwood blooming

There's new life stirring at Wildwood Park. Drifts of daffodils have begun to raise their heads. Swans cruise the lake. A water garden gurgles its way through the trees, over mossy rocks. The woods of the 105-acre park, still mostly as wild as the name suggests, are greening.

Central Avenue au naturel

Interesting debate going on over in Hot Springs. The city, the National Park Service and a consulting firm are discussing the huge tunnel that runs under Central Avenue through the heart of the city -- the tunnel that couldn't handle the floodwaters iof 1990 that devastated the downtown area, including some of the bathhouses in the National Park.

Wolfe v. bullies

From the New York Times (requires registration), the story of Billy Wolfe, a kid from Fayetteville who — for reasons not quite clear — has long been a favorite target of his school's thugs, bullies, no-necks and low-foreheads.

Struggling Republicans

Politico takes a look at struggling state Republican party organizations, including Arkansas's: In Arkansas, where Republicans lost the governorship in 2006 and are outnumbered in the state House and Senate by 3-1 margins, state GOP Chairman Dennis Milligan said he is facing defections and malaise.

Now THAT'S consolidation.

The governor of New Jersey, citing a budget crisis, is threatening to cut off state aid to "tiny" towns of under 10,000 unless they merge with neighboring communities.

Tune in: 'Greek' season premiere

That's Duke adjusting his specs. Tonight, on ABC Family, "Greek" season two debuts at 7 p.m.

UAMS north

An article in the Northwest Arkansas Times says UAMS is going to need a few more millions to complete and operate its Northwest Arkansas campus in the old Washington Regional Hospital in Fayetteville.

Monday: David Slade and Matt Quinn and Justin Carr

Two-thirds fifths* of the American Princes play Thick Syrup Monday at Sticky Fingerz with Justin Carr, who'll be doing a solo set.

Code talking

Warning property owners:  City code enforcement officers will begin posting signs on your properties cited for a code violation.

Open line

Hillary's comment about taking sniper fire, Carville calling Bill Richardson Judas, the new Iraq war milestone and media reporting failings ... you know you have something to say about all of this.

Signs of life

Three years ago, the Northwest Arkansas music scene slipped into faint existence with hardly a whimper. But thanks to well-curated upcoming festivals, like the Dickson St. Music Fest, featuring Sonic Youth, NWA is storming back.

Rim shot!

David Letterman has been doing nightly jokes about John McCain's age (when he isn't needling Spitzer over the call-girl thing).

Central cheerleading suit dropped

The parents of a Central High cheerleader who sued the school district after she failed to make the squad last school year have filed a motion to drop their appeal, according to an email LRSD attorney Chris Heller sent to district administrators Monday afternoon.This ends the suit, filed by one-time mayoral candidate Bill Walker and his wife on behalf of their daughter, who is on the squad this year.

Stick to sports...

So I'm driving home, through rush hour, listening to 103.7, The Buzz, and their "Drive Time Sports" and some d-bag caller goes into a rant about the promo for Britney Spears on How I Met Your Mother that ran during the NCAA tourney games.  The caller was hugely offended by this promo and though that the young impressionable children watching these games shouldn't be subjected to that kind of filth.

Clark on the war

    Gen. Wesley Clark, interviewed by Tavis Smiley Monday night on PBS, said President Bush does bears responsibility for the travesty that is the Iraq war, but that the burden doesn't compare to that suffered by the families of the soldiers on (and in) the ground.

Pressure on Dillard's

Arkansas Business reports today that Barington Capitol Group, the investor firm gearing up for a proxy fight to put its candidates on the Dillard's board of directors, has asked to see Dillard's books.

Everybody Loves John

The downside of hiring a hard-ass, threaten-to-cancel-Christmas type of coach like John Pelphrey is that his tough ways might run the players off, right?


John McCain to reporters Monday: "We're succeeding. I don't care what anybody says.

Imagine a restaurant closing

Saturday is the last day of business for Imagine a Restaurant. Chef/owner Adam Rosenblum tells us, “a lot of aspects played into” his decision to close and that it’s hard to identify “which one was the last straw.” Rosenblum says that he and his chef de cuisine, John Baker, are forming G3, a catering company that stands for Gourmand Guru Group.

The Rep announces 2008-2009 season

Mammoth productions bookend the 2008-2009 MainStage season at the Rep. Here tis: "Les Miserables" September 12 – October 12Bob Hupp directs."If You Sing It, They Will Come (Songs from the Silver Screen)"November 5 – November 16 Nicole Capri directs this young artists' program."It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play"December 5 – December 28Bob Hupp directs."Looking Over the President’s Shoulder"January 30 – February 15, 2009Gilbert McCauley ("Fences, A Soldier’s Play") directs this one-man show starring Lawrence Hamilton."The Foreigner"March 13-March 29, 2009Nicole Capri directs."The Elephant Man"April 24 – May 10, 2009Cliff Fannin Baker directs."The Who’s Tommy"June 5-June 28Lynn Kurdziel-Formatto  (choreography for "The Full Monty," "A Chorus Line") directs.I'm pumped for "The Elephant Man." More details in the news release after the jump.

Tuesday To-Do: Hector Faceplant

HECTOR FACEPLANT10 p.m., White Water Tavern. Free.

Tuesday To-Do: Epiphany and One Night Stand


Arkansas Linkage: Al Green, Kevin Brockmeier and Wal-Mart putting the squeeze on major labels

The long-awaited, much-anticipated Al Green record finally has a name and a release date: "Lay it Down" comes out May 27 via Blue Note.

Tuesday To-Do: The Dirtbombs

THE DIRTBOMBS9 p.m., Revolution. $5-$10.

Cycle Breakers

We’ve written at length about Fifth Division Judge Willard Proctor and his Cycle Breakers probation program.

Deadline for the 1st Arkansas Music Video Competition

A reminder: The 2nd Annual Little Rock Film Festival, May 15-18, 2008, will be hosting the 1st Arkansas Music Video Competition.

No parking for butts

The Little Rock Parks Commission committee that's looking at a no-smoking rule in the city's parks will listen to what the public has to say on the matter at a hearing noon to 1:30 p.m. next Tuesday.

Drugs suspected in house fire

Bentonville Police are investigating what they believe to be methamphetamine and other drug evidence at the residence where five girls died in a fire early this morning.

Your turn

It's open line time. What's the word?

Your turn

It's open line time. What's the word?

Good morning

This link will take you to a video that has but a tenuous link to Arkansas. We have pig farmers, we have the Razorbacks and we like Tammy Wynette and that was reason enough for me to post it.

Wednesday To-Do: Joshua Bell

JOSHUA BELL8 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $30-$100.

'Shotgun Stories' reviewed in NY Times

With two nice pics of G. Alan Wilkins!Here's a preview of the forthcoming movie poster blurb: "['Shotgun Stories'] is a here-and-now American potboiler and a stripped-down parable that can be appreciated by any culture."Here are some more nice bits.

Time Bomb

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the tragic story of James Williams. Born in Camden in 1959 and diagnosed with schizophrenia in his early 20's, Williams lived on the streets of Little Rock for years, repeatedly slipping through the cracks of Arkansas's mental health system despite a long history of violent and threatening behavior.

'Paper Trails' vs. 607

Linda Caillouet, who writes the "Paper Trails" column in the daily newspaper, today took a break from writing about the grandparents of reality show contestants to rail on 607, the recent winner of our Musicians Showcase.

Times All-Star shines

How about some good news for a change? Olivia Meeks, a senior at the University of Arkansas and a former Arkansas Academic All-Star as a senior at Lake Hamilton High School, has been chosen as a Truman Scholar.

Consumer reports

I ventured up to the top of Cantrell hill today to the Metropolitan National Bank in the parking lot of the Tanglewood Shopping Center.

Open and shut case

The Junction Bridge will open in its new incarnation as a pedestrian bridge for the Memorial Day weekend celebration Riverfest, the county announced last week.

Bank Heist

Fox News reports that a man wearing a blue Yankees cap robbed the U.S. Bank at 6200 West Markham this afternoon.

Bond daddy alert

    Will Mike Beebe's little severance tax on natural gas really produce enough highway construction to make it worthwhile, as a few of the Republican critics ask?

Blog's got sEoul

EN ROUTE TO SHANGHAI: Ship Internet service is too slow to check in much. But here's a snap taken during rush hour yesterday on a commuter train  from Incheon to Seoul.

Wednesday Hodge Podge

* Overall, you'd have to say that Wally's column from today wasn't too bad, particularly by his standards.