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August 14, 2008

Vol 6 • No 31

'Huck's new grill'

The Arkansas Project bites off a story that the Arkansas Blog, ever endeavoring to treat former Gov. Mike Huckabee with respect, was reluctant to chomp on.

Bill Gwatney killed; assailant dead

 KARK Photo at Democratic headquarters Arkansas State Democratic Party Chair Bill Gwatney was fatally wounded at State Democratic Party Headquarters on Capitol Avenue about 11:50 a.m. today.

In other news ...

Our attention has been focused today on the shooting of Bill Gwatney. Other things have occurred.

To-do list, Aug. 14

Clunker Car Night, Black Crowes, 'Face the Music and Dance': Gridiron 2008, Maxximum Impact: The Hip-Hop Send Off, NPC State Bodybuilding Championship, Cross Canadian Ragweed, The Munks and David Allan Coe round out this week's entertainment highlights.

Can Lu survive?

Rush Harding of Little Rock, the investment banker and businessman who dominates the board of trustees of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, has been asking people if Lu Hardin “can survive this.”

In brief, Aug. 14

Early in the day at the Clinton School, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam talks about his company’s $28.1 billion acquisition of Alltel, noon, free.

Orval, Aug. 14

This modern world, Aug. 14

Arkie lore

More folklore of romantic Arkansas, back by popular request. Not what’s taught in the schools.

After the war, what?

Except for a dozen or so bombings a day that massacre civilians and Iraqi security forces, the news in Iraq is mostly good for Americans nowadays, as long as you don’t allow yourself to think much beyond the next two years.

Comfort at the Cow

Friends, let me let you in on a little secret: It’s hot out there.

Smart talk, Aug. 14

A celebration is set this weekend for two venerable non-profits that labor to raise the voices of average citizens.

A&E news, Aug. 14

The Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame has announced its 2008 inductees.

The Observer, Aug. 14

Do you remember your first time … to eat a pizza? The Observer does. They called them pies then (the 1950s).

Various artists, ‘Sounds of the Ozarks II’

A spare but rewarding collection of folk songs recorded in Arkansas, “Sounds of the Ozark Folk, Volume II,” is a product of almost a decade of collecting by Dr. Quincy Wolf, an English professor at Southwestern College in Memphis (now Rhodes) and folk mus

Orval, Aug. 14

Orval, Aug. 14

Odds and ends

Usually, I can scrape together some kind of event or theme to hang this column on ¾ thanks, Hallmark, for all those holidays you made up for us ¾ but some weeks, I just got nothin’.

Rethinking remediation

Black students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff do not exist just to play football, says UAPB National Alumni Association president Samuel Staples.

Three amigas

The titular characters in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” Woody Allen’s latest quasi-romantic quasi-comedy, represent much of what there is to love and fear in women while they navigate the gap between college and starting a family.

Hit with a board

The second Friday of every month, John McNeill gets in his truck and makes the drive from Hot Springs to Little Rock for the Arkansas State Contractors Licensing Board meeting.

UCA’s tangled web

The controversy over University of Central Arkansas President Lu Hardin’s pay and perks has had a ripple effect on local politics.

Back to school

As we approach back-to-school time, many parents are thinking of ways to connect their children with better and more effective ways to improve their academic scores.

Try the tofu

An Arkansas politician is expected to eat the coon just as a follower of Jim Jones was expected to drink the Kool-Aid — no hesitation, no excuses.

What's cooking, Aug. 14

Starving Artist Cafe will serve its last meals of lunch and dinner at its Seventh Street location on Friday, Aug. 15.

Isaac Alexander

Isaac Alexander may be the most multi-talented musician in Little Rock.

Fast food to public park

If you’ve driven down South Main Street lately and glanced longingly, perhaps, at the former site of the Captain D’s at the corner of Daisy Bates (14th Street) and Main, you’ve seen a sculpture garden.

Aug. 6 - 12, 2008

It was a good week for... JACK GILLEAN. The vice president at University of Central Arkansas continues to be a beacon for honesty in the ongoing controversy about presidential pay and other problems at UCA. His latest straight talk: It likely was a violat

Fighting the good fight?

Unless you were couching it this past Sunday and the remote rolled off your chest to unreachable territory while you were stuck on MTV, you probably didn’t catch A Good Fight’s big break.

Hayes Carll, ‘Trouble in Mind’

Hayes Carll is coming for you, young rock fans. He will make a country music believer out of you.

Editorial cartoon, Aug. 14

Hardin’s expense account

It came as something of a surprise when the University of Central Arkansas reported in a state Higher Education Department pay survey that President Lu Hardin’s benefits included a $57,000 annual expense account financed by the UCA Foundation.

Orval, Aug. 14

Words, Aug. 14

“Lost cat in N.J. tips scales at 44 pounds … ‘She’s built like a quarterback,’ said Flicka Tharist, a shelter volunteer and current foster owner of the kitty.”

Filter

The wall of sound directly inside the entrance to Revolution should have been a keen indicator of what was in store for the hordes of people who showed up for a healthy dose of staggering industrial jams, delivered by some of the most highly regarded vete

It’s in the air

One of the most electric times to be a football fan is late summer.

The doctor and the comic

George Carlin, among others, regarded the bottled-water phenomenon with misgiving. “When did this country get so thirsty?” he asked.

Cool clear water

The legend of Mountain Valley Spring Water, so the company says, goes back to native Indian tribes who laid down their weapons to take the waters in an area now known as Hot Springs National Park.

Good deed rewarded

John Brummett this morning recalls a signal achievement of Lu Hardin's leadership of UCA -- the salvation of the critically praised but long struggling Oxford American magazine.

Taxpayer dollars at work

I mentioned last week that I'd been copied an e-mail with racist jokes about Barack Obama sent from the e-mail of an office worker at the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Division.

Huck on Romney warpath

Mike Huckabee and other evangelicals plan several events this week to dissuade John McCain from naming Mitt Romney as his running mate.

Walgreens on Main

We thought the proposal for a Walgreens at 17th and Main Streets died in June. But it's back, we learn thanks to the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

Thursday To-Do: 'Face the Music and Dance': Gridiron 2008

'FACE THE MUSIC AND DANCE': GRIDIRON 20088 p.m., the Rep. $35. There will be skewering.

Thursday To-Do: Black Crowes

BLACK CROWES7:30 p.m., Arkansas Music Pavilion, Fayetteville. $30-$65.There was a two-year hiatus and then a two-year period of line-up changes and general tumult.

Thursday To-Do: Clunker Car Night

CLUNKER CAR NIGHT7:10 p.m., Dickey-Stephens Park. $6-$10.

Another QB Controversy for Mustain?

Stephens Media's Harry King reports that former Hog Mitch Mustain is in line to start USC's season opener against Virginia and speculates that the Springdale native may soon find himself in the midst of another quarterback controversy.

And Arkansas casts its votes for ....

Hillary Clinton's name will be placed in nomination at the Democratic National Convention. No more than was done for Shirley Chisholm.

Verizon's plans for LR

-- Brian Chilson photo Full crowd scene today at the Statehouse Convention Center for the Clinton School of Public Service speech by Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam.

BREAKING: Killer had Gwatney note

UPDATE: A search warrant returned to Searcy district court today with a receipt for property taken during the search of the Searcy home of Timothy Johnson, the suspected killer of Democratic Party chair Bill Gwatney, provides the first indication that Johnson might have targeted the former senator and car dealer.

BREAKING: Killer had Gwatney note

UPDATE: A search warrant returned to Searcy district court today with a receipt for property taken during the search of the Searcy home of Timothy Johnson, the suspected killer of Democratic Party chair Bill Gwatney, provides the first indication that Johnson might have targeted the former senator and car dealer.

Sad sad day

There really aren't words how to express the shock and sadness I felt after hearing about Bill Gwatney's tragic death.

Thursday: Tragikly White, Egress and more

Tragikly White. Party band Tragikly White tries to put people on the dance floor at Cajun's, 9 p.m., $5.From Dallas, Egress blends reggae, funk and rock at Sticky Fingerz, 10 p.m., $3.

Anticipate: 'Front Row with Dale Hawkins'

Next up for “AETN Presents: Front Row”: North Little Rock's own swamp rock legend, Dale Hawkins (“Suzy Q”).

Upcoming for the Oxford American

CMT will be the exclusive sponsor of the Oxford American's 10th annual Southern Music Issue.

Shootout on Roosevelt Road

Two men were wounded in a shootout at a convenience store at Roosevelt and Arch.

Police: Gwatney killer a stalker

Searcy police have provided Arkansas Times with two police reports that indicate Timothy Dale Johnson, suspected of slaying Democratic Party chair Bill Gwatney, harassed a Searcy woman in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Thursday thread

Your turn. I'll be trying to stay up for Phelps.

Water wars

“The Natural Resources Defense Council has estimated that bottled water is between 240 and 10,000 more times expensive than tap water."

Democrats and abortion

The Democratic Party platform plank on abortion has been written to attract anti-abortion voters. It's had some success, at least among evangelicals who participated in crafting the language.

Huckabites may bolt

Michigan supporters of Mike Huckabee make it clear what's important in the 2008 election. John McCain's vice president must oppose abortion and want to marginalize gay people or they'll bolt.

Racino jackpots!

Gamblers at the racinos at Southland and Oaklawn parks lost about $2.7 million gambling on the slot machines at the racinos in July.

Racino jackpots!

Gamblers at the racinos at Southland and Oaklawn parks lost about $2.7 million gambling on the slot machines at the racinos in July.

Friday To-Do: Maxximum Impact: The Hip-Hop Send Off

Maxx, impacting. MAXXIMUM IMPACT: THE HIP HOP SEND OFF9 p.m., Downtown Music.

Saturday To-Dos: Body Building Championship, Cross Canadian Ragweed and the Munks

AAAAHHH! NPC STATE BODY BUILDING CHAMPIONSHIP6:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall.

The gloomy forecast

Here's a link to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam's full speech in Little Rock yesterday in which he, as gently as possible, confirmed the significant job cuts that will be coming here when the company completes its purchase of Alltel.

Trailer gazing: 'With Angels'

  Demozette editor Werner Trieschmann is helping pen a new web series for Strike TV, a web channel that emerged in the wake of the writer's strike.

Premature speculation

I think the question about the next chairman of the Democratic Party is just about the last thing on anyone's mind at the moment.

The Weekend: Big John Miller, Graham Wilkinson and PM Today

Free Verse. FRIDAY 8/15Local blue-eyed soul champ Big John Miller brings his band to the Afterthought, 8 p.m., $7.

GOP vote suppression UPDATE

The Morning News stumbled on a prety good story here, but failed to highlight the real news.

Halter gets an OK

The state Ethics Commission today issued an advisory opinion about state official involvement in ballot initiatives.

Wal-Mart possibly to release the most important album of the 21st Century

Axl not looking crazy at all. Billboard reports that negotiations are underway to release Guns N Roses long-gestating album "Chinese Democracy" (14 years in the making; take that Dr. Dre!)

How the money goes

The UCA Foundation is compiling information on specific uses of the $70,000 or so expense reimbursements it has been making annually to President Lu Hardin.

You Make Me So Mad!

  Okay, people, seriously, how do you expect to get a job? Seriously?

Sixteen Arkansas Restaurants Made the Cut for Wine Spectator

The August issue of Wine Spectator honors some of Arkansas’ most renowned restaurants in their annual Best Wine Lists of 2008 issue.

The infidelity card

George Bush's pastor plays it against John McCain. What next?

The killer's trail UPDATED

BREAKING NEWS Channel 11 has interviewed one of Timothy Dale Johnson's classmates at ASU-Beebe, where the man who killed Democratic Party chair Bill Gwatney had been taking computer courses.

Obama and Arkansas

The NY Times dispatched a reporter to write for Saturday's print edition about the lack of enthusiasm for Barack Obama in Arkansas and his lack of campaign effort.

Hellfire and political damnation

Here's a report on the whoop-up by the god squadders who'll feature The Huckster tomorrow in a Washington Capitol Mall event intended to pressure John McCain to be sure that hatred of abortion and gay people shape his presidential campaign.

Open line

Fire when ready.

The Switchboard Theory

I give Wes, my BFF (Best Freakin' Friend), too much credit, but occasionally he hits the nail on the head.

Posers flex pecs

If the Olympics haven't quenched your thirst for incredible feats of physical prowess, head downtown for the state body building championship. Plus, more Saturday to-dos.

Gwatney aftermath: the video

Someone has posted a Youtube.com video taken in the confusing minutes just after the shooting of Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney.

Gwatney aftermath: the video

Someone has posted a Youtube.com video taken in the confusing minutes just after the shooting of Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney.

Bingo tax

It wasn't enough that bingo operators pursued their business illegally for years. They get legalized and now they want the tiny state tax on gambling removed.

Anatomy of a bank failure

NY Times today profiles a bank regulator who oversaw the takeover of the failing ANB bank in Bentonville.

The blog's readers: In review PS

John Brummett has a few words to say about the dialogue on this blog after last week's shooting of Bill Gwatney.

Acorn's scandal

The scandal over embezzling from the grassroots organization ACORN by the brother of founder Wade Rathke draws attention again today in the New York Times.

Take it away

Open thread. My 25-words-or-less review of Olympics coverage: Not enough track and, particularly, field.

Take it away

Open thread. My 25-words-or-less review of Olympics coverage: Not enough track and, particularly, field.

What about Wesley Clark

Says here he won't be at Democratic Convention.

Hit with a board

Electrician calls fines from contractors board ‘extortion.’

Before it's too late

Good Brummett column on Bill Gwatney.

The truth about John McCain

Frank Rich, disputing the notion that Barack Obama is in trouble, says any problems stem from a lack of inspection of his opponent.

The real estate bust

Interesting article in the NW D-G on Fayetteville's Ben Israel and his imploded real estate development business.

Sucking up to Boone Pickens

The things you have to do to run for president. Bad as this is, it doesn't match John McCain kissing up to George Bush after Bush campaign smears on his family in 2000.

Sunday thread

Slow day. You have anything?

Meet Your Waiter

Obviously, if you are reading this blog, you love food. You think about it, you read about it, you probably even dream about it.

Lights flicker?

  -- Brian Chilson photo Around 6 p.m. in the Heights?

Themes for Denver UPDATE

Brummett predicts the shape of the Democratic National Convention. The elephant in the room: Some wondering whether the best candidate is to be nominated.

Themes for Denver UPDATE

Brummett predicts the shape of the Democratic National Convention. The elephant in the room: Some wondering whether the best candidate is to be nominated.

Now it's Pakistan

No Arkansas angle -- except to the extent that we have a spot on this ever shakier globe -- but Pakistani leader and U.S. friend Musharaf is resigning.

Huckabee: Safer in Israel

Has Mike Huckabee's penchant for exaggeration bought him more unflattering attention? Or not?

Gwatney service

-- Brian Chilson photo Bill Gwatney's funeral at 2 p.m. today at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church will be webcast live on KATV. And now I hear Fox 16 will be broadcasting live.

High profile, low talk

Confidential to the correspondent who reported by mail today on a social soiree encounter with a former Huckabee campaign insider: Rich stuff.

Your friend, the gas driller

I will say this about the shale drilling boom, particularly as it relates to Chesapeake Energy.

Your friend, the gas driller

I will say this about the shale drilling boom, particularly as it relates to Chesapeake Energy.

Heat deaths

The news comes amid unseasonably pleasant temperatures, but the recent brutal heat claimed two lives, the state Health Department says.

Over to you

Not much happening. But I hope to have a report later from the meeting of the Pulaski County Jail task force.

Expectations Are Certainly Running High

Looks like Bobby Petrino has his work cut out for him. Despite a brutally difficult schedule (the 2nd toughest in all the land, say some), the loss of some of the best Razorbacks ever to the NFL after last season, and a defense that has resembled a leaky sieve throughout training camp, fan expectations are running high.

Huckabee the Maccabee

More from Mike Huckabee's jaunt to Israel, where he's feeding red meat to the conservative group that paid his way.

County jail advice

Thanks to Kathy Wells for a report on tonight's Pulaski County Jail task force meeting. Advice from a neutral third party lawyer: the city shouldn't be suing anybody for more money or to force acceptance of prisoners.

In passing

Bill Gwatney's funeral offered some moments of laughter, appropriate to the man being remembered, writes John Brummett today.

Not going to happen ...

but the NY Times nonetheless devotes a few acres of newsprint to the what-if question of Hillary Clinton as Barack Obama's running mate.

Russia-Georgia explained

Dr. Robert Johnston, a former state legisator and state Public Service Commission member, will lead a discussion on Russia and Georgia Monday evening at Lily's Dim Sum.

College daze

Fuel-sipping motor scooters apparently are all the rage at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. So much so that the campus is cracking down on permitting and parking.

How stupid is Fayetteville?

Or maybe the better question is how stupid (corrupt) are Fayetteville's leaders? The Iconoclast writes, with rich background that includes his own brilliant prophesy, about how the city may be snookered again by developers who've failed time and again to deliver on glorious promises.

What's your bbq pleasure?

Just for fun, a musical tour of the country's barbecue. The musicians favor vinegary North Carolina barbecue.

Confederate widow dies

I'd missed this obituary, of a Lexa woman who married a Confederate veteran in 1934 when she was 19 and he was 86.

Zoo welcomes blood-suckers

The Little Rock Zoo welcomes some newborn vampire bats.

The newspaper bloodbath

You've read here about mass newspaper layoffs and the belt-tightening (wage and job freezes) at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Money talks

Democrat Joe White, who's challenging Republican Sen. Gilbert Baker's re-election bid in Conway, is crowing because he has more cash on hand than the incumbent and outraised Baker in July.

Obama takes on the smears

Barack Obama used his VFW appearance to respond to the slime that John McCain and his running dog Joe Lieberman have been hurling about his patriotism.

Obama takes on the smears

Barack Obama used his VFW appearance to respond to the slime that John McCain and his running dog Joe Lieberman have been hurling about his patriotism.

Dog needs help

There's no end to animals in need of friends, medical help, good homes. But this one, on account of my long affinity for smush-faced dogs, touched me. Co-worker Dan Limke told me about Sluggo.

Dear old gold rules day

Being a codger, I shook my head while reading the recent articles on school lunch prices -- $2 at the elementary level and $2.25 secondary in the LR School District.

Dear old gold rules day

Being a codger, I shook my head while reading the recent articles on school lunch prices -- $2 at the elementary level and $2.25 secondary in the LR School District.

The candidates and health care

Columbia Journalism Review has sent reporters to evaluate how presidential candidates' health care proposals compare.

Russell Crowe considering marring the legacy of Bill Hicks

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Russell Crowe is developing a project based on comedian Bill Hicks, who went to high school in Little Rock and later, at 32, returned to be with friends and family before dying of pancreatic cancer.

Glen Campbell, still alive

  "Meet Glen Campbell" preview video.

Tuesday: Gazer, Western Fifth and not much more

Someone from Western Fifth. Batesville-based alt-rockers Gazer headline a benefit for the Arkansas Foodbank at Juanita's, 9 p.m., $5 or free with donation of two can goods.Minneapolis indie acts Western Fifth and John Ewing share the bill at White Water with the Muddlestuds, 10 p.m., donations.As usual, John Miller and Steven Winter do Bluesday Tuesday at the Afterthought, 8 p.m., free.

No charge against judge

Pulaski Prosecutor Larry Jegley has closed an investigation without filing charges against Supreme Court Justice Jim Gunter.

Gwatney investigation

Nothing new today on police inspection of the few clues left behind by Timothy Johnson, the Searcy man who's believed to have shot Democratic Party Chair Bill Gwatney to death in Democratic Party headquarters last week.

Gwatney investigation

Nothing new today on police inspection of the few clues left behind by Timothy Johnson, the Searcy man who's believed to have shot Democratic Party Chair Bill Gwatney to death in Democratic Party headquarters last week.

Hardin's gift fund

Last week we posted the initial results of an FOI request to the UCA Foundation asking for more specific information on how President Lu Hardin spends his discretionary fund, a fund that was budgeted for $57,000 in 2008-2009 but that has been richer than that over the past few years.

SEC Power Poll: Coaches Edition

We were avid readers of the SEC Power Poll last season, so everyone at Expats HQ was extremely honored when Brandon from Garnett & Black Attack asked us to represent Arkansas in this year's edition (we'll try to do you proud, Hog fans).

Tuesday thread

It's open.

Petition fight

The Family Council says it will submit sufficient signatures by Friday to qualify its ballot initiative to make adoption more difficult.

Water wars

"The Natural Resources Defense Council has estimated that bottled water is between 240 and 10,000 more times expensive than tap water."

Knocking the Huck

Columnist David Sanders, who once worked on Gov. Mike Huckabee's staff, raps The Huckster for sneering at continued public service.

Still killin' em all

Thrilling news for everyone who hasn't seen "Some Kind of Monster,"* arguably the greatest heavy metal band of all time is, at least according to its website, scheduled to play Alltel on Saturday, November 22.Metallica's ninth studio album, "Death Magnetic" (produced by Rick Rubin), is out Sept. 12.*If Metallica isn't in your pantheon and seeing its members dive headlong into group therapy sounds hilarious, not bruising, see the movie.

Wednesday To-Do? David Allan Coe

DAVID ALLAN COE8:30 p.m., the Village. $15-$25.David Allan Coe has never been wary of extending the middle finger.

A reason to go to Branson?

Entertainment Weekly reports that Paul McCartney recently visited the Reno of southern Missouri to meet with Louise Harrison, George's sister and the owner of the Starlite Theater, where one of those creepy Beatles tribute acts has a regular gig.

Life long

Remember Toby Keith, the country music singing idiot who built his career on cheerleading for the Iraq War and bashing the Dixie Chicks for making a stand against W?

Conway politics

It's not all about UCA and Sen. Gilbert Baker. There's a House race, too, for the seat in which Betty Pickett is term-limited and Under the Dome has a handy progress report here.

Trend lines

Presidential polling trending McCain at the moment, says here. But if Ralph Nader is right ...

He Said, He Said

On NBC's "Meet the Press," the late Tim Russert would routinely try to create great theater by presenting interviewees with video clips or quotes that showed them taking contradictory positions.

Q&A: Tom Murphy

Believe it or not, the start of the 2008 Hog football season is less than two weeks away.

School Ban on Confederate Flag Upheld

In 2005, Steven Lafon, the principal of the William Blount High School in Maryville, Tennessee, told an assembly of the freshman class that students “would not be allowed to have Rebel flags or symbols of [the] Rebel flag” on their clothes.

UALR safety report

A group studying UALR safety has concluded a Feb. 27 shooting in a parking lot was an isolated incident.

Tune In: "Front Row with the Salty Dogs"

Tonight at 6:30 p.m., the Salty Dogs' live appearance on AETN's "Front Row" airs for the first time.

Uphill climb

Will the West Memphis Three get a full hearing in circuit court in Jonesboro on efforts to reopen the case?

Prison Nation

According to the Justice Department, we now have 2.3 million people locked up in our nation's prisons and jails.  Between 2000 and 2007, the number of inmates in custody in prisons or jails increased by 367,200.

Your turn

Wednesday thread. It was one of those thankfully rare days -- more than three hours of meetings.
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