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March 27, 2008

Vol 6 • No 11

The (Shale) play’s the thing

Dickie Rambo’s story has a typical hardscrabble Arkansas plot. Born and bred in Judsonia, in White County, Rambo now lives seven miles outside of Searcy in a township so small that he doesn’t even know what it’s called.

The Wright context?

Most everyone by now has seen the soundbite of Barack Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright bellowing "God damn America!" from the pulpit of his Chicago church.  The way the polls look, unless something slips or breaks, historians may well look back on Wright's sermon someday as Obama's version of the famous, campaign-scuttling Dean Scream.On the flip side, some are saying that Wright's comments make more sense when they're seen in context.

Your turn

You've got something on your chest. Let's hear it.

Editorial cartoon, March 27

Orval, March 27

March 19-25, 2008

It was a good week for …STATE HIGHWAYS. The votes promised, Gov. Mike Beebe called a special legislative session to begin March 31 to enact a raise in the severance tax on natural gas, predicted to eventually produce as much as $100 million a year for roa

Diamond dust-up

An Appleton, Wis., man is selling diamonds he claims came from Crater of Diamonds State Park, but a gem collector says they’re not.

Women as captains

Sometimes progress is measured by half-court movements. When I was in school, girls played half-court basketball. Girls were regarded as too fragile to run the distance.

Doubletalk

OK, this is an Ask Assmunch open line.

Real funny

Todd Barry is funny. He’s also a comedian. As anyone who’s ventured out to a comedy club more than once or even just watched enough late night TV can tell you, those two don’t always go together.

The audacity of hope

After such a spectacular and disappointing loss, it’s easy to forget that only weeks ago the Hogs looked like they might not even make the tournament.

Be sure to visit ‘Bruges’

While everyone else in the known world was out seeing that talking elephant movie, we decided to take a shot in the dark and try a little movie that most of you have probably never heard of: “In Bruges.”

Delinquent adults

I am writing to convey my concerns for the children in Shirley (Arkansas Times, March 6) and to encourage parents to continue to step forward with complaints of abuse in their schools.

When hosts boo their guests

It was a wonderful event, well-run and festive, except that the hosts booed a guest.

This modern world, March 27

Trouble in paradise

For most Americans, the thought of Bermuda evokes an edenic haven, complete with sandy beaches, pristine sea and favorable tax laws. But for Little Rock securities lawyer Gary Barket, the British-controlled island has become a prison.

Words, March 27

We mentioned recently that newspapers have trouble with “alleged.”

Pragmatic tack on tax

John Harberson, a soft-spoken but hardheaded state representative from Howard County, resented the ruthless pressure from Gov. Orval Faubus to pass a penny-a-gallon increase in gasoline taxes and two cents of diesel taxes at a special session of the legis

Reel weekend

To the provincially minded among us in Central Arkansas, the mere existence of the Ozark Foothills Film Festival, now in its seventh year and one of the region’s strongest film events, prompts a question: Why Batesville?

Smart talk, March 27

The documentary “The Lord God Bird,” about the search for the ivory-billed woodpecker in Arkansas, Texas and Georgia, premiered March 17 at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C.

You just got (soft) served

I wasn’t born with the proverbial silver spoon in my mouth, but instead a plastic straw.

Their way is not our way

A visitor preparing to head back home after the NCAA Tournament took time to call the newspaper.

In brief, March 27

Rising country singer/songwriter Roger Creager comes to Sticky Fingerz, 9 p.m., $7.

To-do list, March 27

The Dreaming / Avi Ghosh, 'Fat Pig', Designer's Choice Fashion Preview, Lorenzen's Last Day, Miss Gay Revolution, Rockstar Taste of Chaos Tour, Phantom Planet and Electrify Your Strings are all happening this week.

Wrong Iron Grill

Located in an attractive old two-story brick building on the east end of President Clinton Avenue, Wrought Iron Grill & Pub has an inviting façade.

Mid-century on Markham

JTD Designs is easy to miss — it had been open several months before I noticed it.

Trouble in paradise

For most Americans, the thought of Bermuda evokes an edenic haven, complete with sandy beaches, pristine sea and favorable tax laws. But for Little Rock securities lawyer Gary Barket, the British-controlled island has become a prison.

What's cooking, March 27

Saturday is the last day of business for Imagine a Restaurant.

The Observer, March 27

On a bright, warm day in the middle of March, The Observer headed out to Lake Maumelle.

From a hole in the ground

Fox 16's reporting that there are three sinkholes near center field of the new Dickey Stephens Park baseball palace.

Who would pay?

Here's a link to a story that says only 5 percent of the state's gas wells would pay the full severance tax rate being proposed by Gov. Beebe.

Paying for the sewers

A public meeting on a study into the feasibility of using impact fees to help cover the costs of city sewer service is set for 6:30 p.m. tonight at Little Rock Wastewater's Clearwater Maintenance facility at 5300 S. Shackleford Road.

Quote of the day

From Republican Linda Bisbee of Rogers, who is running for the District 95 House seat, in response to opponent Duncan Baird's heated criticism of lobbyist gift-giving to lawmakers:

Pel's Post-Mortem

Head on over to the top-notch ArkansasSports360.com for a partial transcript of John Pelphrey's Thursday afternoon post-mortem on the 2007-08 season.

Thursday To-Do: The Dreaming - Avi Ghosh

THE DREAMING/ AVI GHOSH9 p.m., Juanita's. $7.

Unfit for a day

We know you're not always glommed on to the Arkansas Blog. Sometimes you're out getting your heart rate up.

That's the ticket

McCain and Romney have kissed and made up, and Romney joined the Republican nominee-to-be today on the stump in Salt Lake City.

Re-elect Al?

Time magazine columnist Joe Klein posits another outcome for the Democrats: A Gore-Obama ticket. "But let's play a little.

Wal-worst

  Wal-Mart has won, and it richly deserves it, Keith Olbermann's World's Worst Person designation for suing a brain-damaged former employee Debbie Shank for $470,000, the settlement money that was to support her in a nursing home.

Open line

It's 5:06 p.m. and the office smells like old Chinese food. Time to head out and get some fresh air.

What Are You Doing?

I have been completely in love with the unlikely internet juggernaut that is Twitter for almost a year now, and I am still nearly always unable to describe it accurately to people who do not use it.

North Metro Tuesday Morning

I just got an email in my inbox announcing the grand opening of the new CABOT location of Tuesday Morning, on April 1.  I'm assuming it's not an April Fool's joke, and that now those of us out this way might actually be able to make it to the store in time to take advantage of some of the pre-announced sales.  Cabot is growing like crazy, with new restaurant and store openings almost weekly, it seems.  Are we in some crazy recession-proof bubble?

Casey for Obama

Will Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey's endorsement of Obama cut into Hillary's big lead in that state's April 22 primary?

Ticket info

The Huffington Post rounds up reports from the New York Times and the Washington Post on running mates.

Another Acxing

Arkansas Business reports another casualty at Acxiom: Services division leader Lee Hodges will retire from the company by June 30, according to a filing Wednesday from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Friday To-Do: 'Fat Pig'

‘FAT PIG'7:30 p.m., Weekend Theater. $10-$14.

U of A releases consolidation study

Some lessons for adults in a study of four pairs of school districts that merged in the wake of state-mandated consolidation.

Paper Trails says, my bad

In today's Dem-Gaz. THE 411 ON 607: Regarding an earlier item on local rapper 607 (Adrian Tillman) schedule to appear at Riverfest, turns out I wasn't fully informed.

Mormons join landmark push

The Mormons announced, after talks this week with descendants of the victims at Carrollton, Ark., that they'll join their push for a national historic landmark at the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Utah Territory site where some 120 men, women and children moving West from Arkansas were slaughtered by church members and Indians in 1857.

Green mountain goading

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy's backing off his call earlier today for Hillary to drop out of the race for the Democratic nomination.

Have at it

We're thinking this is it; we're checking out. Here's an open line.

Reel weekend

To the provincially minded among us in Central Arkansas, the mere existence of the Ozark Foothills Film Festival, now in its seventh year and one of the region's strongest film events, prompts a question: Why Batesville?

Saturday To-Do: Buy books

LORENZEN'S LAST DAY8 a.m.-6 p.m., Lorenzen and Co. Booksellers. Half price books.

Silent spring

There is a ton of philanthropic dough in Northwest Arkansas -- mostly for business, sports and agriculture, with the singular exception of Alice Walton's baby, Crystal Bridge Museum.

Come here, Watson, I need you

Call for repair of non-functioning telephone reveals there is an eight-day backlog on AT&T service calls in the Little Rock area.

End time

    Can the Hogs rebound this fall without Darren, Felix, Marcus and Houston? Will it be Hillary, Barack or McCain?

Saturday To-Do: Designer's Choice Fashion Preview

DESIGNER'S CHOICE FASHION PREVIEW7 p.m., Clear Channel Metroplex. $20-$35.

Saturday To-Do: Miss Gay Revolution

MISS GAY REVOLUTION8 p.m., Revolution. $10.

Life isn't fair

Prosecutors have decided to drop their appeal of a judge's ruling that allowed thief Tom Coughlin pay for his crime of stealing $400,000 from Wal-Mart by making him go to fancy fund-raisers.

Life isn't fair

Prosecutors have decided to drop their appeal of a judge's ruling that allowed thief Tom Coughlin pay for his crime of stealing $400,000 from Wal-Mart by making him go to fancy fund-raisers.

Shanghaied

Greetings. The city was everything I'd hoped, steamed dumplings and buns included.

Go Heels!

We're watching basketball. What about you?

No Doonesbury!

To my horror, I found no Doonesbury in the comics section of the D-G today.

Googled

  View Larger Map Everybody's talking about google maps' new feature that allows you to get a street level view of your house -- and everyone else's.

Googled

  View Larger Map Everybody's talking about google maps' new feature that allows you to get a street level view of your house -- and everyone else's.

Red (state) alert!

Duck and cover, Democrats!The cover story in today's New York Times Magazine bleats about the possible end of "Republican America."The last time the pundits declared the Grand Old Party moribund we got Richard Nixon!

Allo, allo (Updated)

To be fair, I must report that AT&T has sent a repairman out on a chilly, drippy day to work on the busted phone connection I reported about yesterday.The phone isn't working yet, but a polite fellow is slogging around the neighborhood in a full foul-weather suit testing various wires -- in one day instead of the eight-day wait time predicted by AT&T Saturday.UPDATE: A nice fellow by the name of Sonny spent a good long time in the rain testing the AT&T lines in the neighborhood and, for now at least, seems to have fixed the malfuntioning phone line.

Sunday To-Do: State of Chaos Tour

Avengend Sevenfold. ROCKSTAR TASTE OF CHAOS TOUR4 p.m., Riverfest Amphitheatre.

More critical love for "Shotgun Stories"

Jeff Nichols continues to rake in critical acclaim for "Shotgun Stories." In addition to the favorable NY Times review I posted about the other day, he's pulled a really glowing lead review from my favorite movie critic, David Edelstein, in New York magazine (with another big pic of Alan Disaster as Shampoo).

Need an open line?

Here, a place to vent about Davidson, Hillary, McCain, Obama, your neighbor, whatever. We're off to watch John Adams.

Oil city ghoulishness

     It’s settled. The old Rialto Theater, a downtown El Dorado landmark, is haunted.

Whistling in the graveyard?

Re: this review, from this week's letter's page. I just wanted to express my disappointment/disgust with Lindsey Millar's review of the John Prine show.

The (Shale) play’s the thing

Money, royalty battles, tax fights and environmental concerns thicken the plot.

More gas pains

The Ledge starts work at noon today on legislation to make the gas industry pay for what they take, just one issue that arises from the boom in drilling.

Still on the fence -- maybe

New York Magazine writer John Heilemann is wondering where John Edwards is in a story about where the biggest guns in the party stand on Hillary.

Scaife for Clinton?

From the New York Times: Richard Mellon Scaife, the bankroller of the American Spectator magazine's Arkansas Project in the 1990s, has penned an editorial in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review praising Hillary Clinton.

Big Love

A new study from George Mason University finds that the big chain retail stores --including Arkansas-based Wal-Mart -- vastly outperformed FEMA when it came to helping devastated communities in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Monday To-Do

Things are going to be a little slow around here while Lindsey's on vacation, but the less hip around the office are going to do what we can.

Rehm's Moving

Quarters are usually cramped for the monthly speakers series at the Clinton School for Public Service, but word comes now that an upcoming talk by NPR's Diane Rehm has been moved to Robinson Auditorium in order to accommodate an expected overflow crowd.

From the SI Archives: Alvin Robertson

In what is truly one of the most glorious developments in the history of time wasting, Sports Illustrated recently opened up the vault and put its entire magazine archives - as in all of it - on its website.

Short day at the legislature

It's Opening Day, both for baseball and for the state's special legislative session. Baseball has six months ahead of it.

Drop that gauge

The state Health Department says a radioactive gauge, in a yellow plastic transport case, turned up missing from a construction firm vehicle near Brinkley.

Another Bush success story

Chalk up another hit on the U.S. from the Bush administration: The New York Times, looking at Congressional Budget Office data, reports that the number of Americans who'll need food stamps is projected to be higher this year than since the program began nearly 50 years ago.

Going home

Before I make any more posting mistakes! I misblogged, I admit it.

Real funny

No one in comedy today does deadpan like Todd Barry, and he'll prove it on Tuesday at Juanita's as part of a solo tour in support of “From Heaven,” his laugh-a-minute third album on Comedy Central Records.

Sherwood boy genius

Network World's website carries an amazing report of young Jon Penn, age 11, who rescued his school's computer network at Sherwood's Victory Baptist School.

Because, Apparently, Johnson & Johnson ALREADY Owns Me, Anyway

If you're plugged into the blogosphere, particularly the world of "mom-bloggers," you've heard more than enough about The Great Camp Baby To-Do of 2008.  If you've missed the dustup, you can bring yourself up to speed here, and a little Googling will turn up plenty more fallout.What happened was, Johnson & Johnson and their PR firm, in an effort to "connect" with what is becoming an increasingly powerful demographic, MOMS WHO BLOG, decided to host a 3-day "getaway" for moms, culminating, naturally, in a field trip to J&J headquarters for a product expo.  The hope is that the blogger attendants will return home and write (hopefully glowingly) on their blogs about the J&J products they saw, and how well they were treated by the giant corporation.  They invited 50 "influential bloggers" on this junket, and shockingly enough, Yours Truly was one of those 50.  I'm still trying to figure out quite how "influential" I am, but I registered for the trip based on a few key factors:1.

The 'Clinton' brand

E.J. Dionne, the Washington Post columnist who'll be speaking Friday at the Clinton School as part of the Arkansas Literary Festival, says Hillary risks ruining the "Clinton" brand if she pushes on past reason:

Distaff opinion

Another take on the calls for Hillary to git: From Marie Cocco, who notes that Leahy and Dodd and others beating the drum have something in common, anatomically speaking.

The gas vote

Governor Beebe counts heads as reliably as he negotiates. He counted on 81 votes in the House of Representatives for his natural gas severance tax and that is what he got.

BFI settles in sex discrimination suit

BFI Waste Services, which operates the landfill in Southwest Little Rock, will pay $190,780 to settle a sex discrimination suit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced today.

Spring Bake

Maybe it's something in the air (other than that nasty pollen), but recently I've been spending more time in my kitchen and baking.

Smelling greasepaint

  Check out the Encyclopedia of Arkansas's gripping story on the Bartleby Clown College in downtown Jonesboro.

Meanwhile ...

The Arkansas Times's Internet browser is playing a little April Fool's joke on us today by barely working.

Green day

  This is the advertisement that will begin appearing on television tomorrow from the non-profit group wecansolveit.org, an alliance that includes former Vice President Al Gore.

Possible drowning

Fort Smith television is reporting that a kayak was found submerged in water this morning at Joyce and Mud Creek in Fayetteville and emergency officials are trying to determine if a kayaker has drowned.

Blessings from downunder

Obama has Bob Casey and Alice Walker but Hillary has Kevin Rudd. Who’s he?

Ssssssssee this

  20 Foot Reticulated Python Arrives at the LR Zoo from Little Rock Zoo on Vimeo.A great video from the LR Zoo featuring "Snakeman" Randall Berry shows a huge snake being unloaded and slipped into its new home in the old crocodile-monitor tank.

Re-Gonzalesed

In this Salon piece, Glenn Greenwald nails Michael Mukasey's for his disgraceful lie earlier this week in a speech in San Francisco that said wiretapping laws prohibited the government from protecting those who died in the twin towers. The San Francisco Chronicle does, too.

Memories of home

We were in Kyoto yesterday. We were walking toward the neighborhood where "Memories of a Geisha" was filmed when we came upon a temple dedicated, judging by multiple sculptures and tiny tributes placed on some of them, to a certain familiar porcine creature.

M.D.s say yes to national health insurance

On a subject near and dear to our hearts, Reuters reports on the Annals of Internal Medicine survey that found that a majority of U.S. doctors now favor universal health care coverage.

Cue it up

  We just snarfed down a Whole Hog barbecue sandwich at our desk, which reminds us that the tiedyetraveler says the Hickory House over in Forrest City is a good place for 'cue.

Tuesday Hodge Podge

* What was your favorite moment of the Nate Rakestraw era? * WholeHogSports.com has a good look at the incoming Hog roundballers.

On vacation

Max's column will return April 17. Guest columnists are filling in April 3 and 10.

On vacation

Max's column will return April 17. Guest columnists are filling in April 3 and 10.

Some sort of change at Dillard's

Roby Brock is reporting on his Talk Business blog that there was an agreement of sorts late Tuesday to name four directors to one of the Dillard's, Inc., boards and thus avoid a proxy fight with two big investor groups.

Good morning, people

Since our Internet problems are still with us, I'm posting an open line. Set the tone for the day!

Listen and win American Princes booty

Via Yep Roc: With the April 15 release day of Other People just two weeks away, the guys of American Princes would like to get your interpretation of the new album!

It could happen here

The Arkansas Friendship Coalition, the pro-immigrant alliance of business, churches and human rights groups, has called a press conference for 2 p.m.

DEVELOPING: Workers Fall From I-430 Bridge

Marie Crawford with Central Arkansas Water confirms that there has been an accident involving contract workers installing water mains underneath the I-430 bridge.

DEVELOPING: Workers Fall From I-430 Bridge

Marie Crawford with Central Arkansas Water confirms that there has been an accident involving contract workers installing water mains underneath the I-430 bridge.

Oxford American Update

As expected, the board of the Oxford American has unanimously accepted a $140,000 infusion of cash from the University of Central Arkansas -- essentially a bailout in the wake of an employee embezzlement that might top $100,000.

The Ties That Bind

Not surprisingly, the national sports media has failed to note the most obvious story angle arising out of this year's Final Four: that all of the entries have played important roles in the Razorbacks' NCAA Tournament history.

Reel weekend

To the provincially minded among us in Central Arkansas, the mere existence of the Ozark Foothills Film Festival, now in its seventh year and one of the region’s strongest film events, prompts a question: Why Batesville?
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