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November 20, 2008

Vol 6 • No 45

On air, on edge

It was, by anyone’s estimation, an unspeakable crime: On Oct. 20, Anne Pressly — a vivacious, fun-loving young woman with a smile for everyone she met and an up-and-comer at KATV Channel 7 who seemed destined for TV journalism’s Big Leagues — was found badly beaten and near death in her own bed, in her tidy house, in one of Little Rock’s quietest neighborhoods.

Women are angry

So says a poll of women by the Daily Beast. They think there's gender bias in the media.

Bear hunting

I'm just about to begin to feel sorry for the University of Central Arkansas. Bond downgrade.

PETA: The bare facts

In the morning mail: What:  Confined to a cage with her nude body painted like a tiger and a banner above her reading, "Wild Animals Don't Belong Behind Bars," PETA member Christina Dang will protest the impending arrival of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Little Rock.

Clinton Foundation bucks

The Clinton Foundation raised $124 million in 2007 and spent $140 million, according to its annual filing with the IRS.

Back to court

The California Supreme Court today said it would take up a challenge to Prop. 8, the gay marriage ban.

Your turn

I'm clocking out.

Get a jump on sales

If you’ve ever felt torn between watching football on Thanksgiving and poring over the 5-inch thick stack of ads that come in that day’s newspaper, well, feel torn no longer.

Twittering to Starkville

I’m trying hard to stay peripherally attached to modern communications technology.

Sellers’ market

Today, there are 15,072 licensed real estate agents in Arkansas.

Nov. 12-18, 2008

It was a GOOD week for … AUSTERITY BUDGETING. Gov. Mike Beebe proposed a state budget that anticipates a tiny reduction in net revenue, with gaps plugged by a one-time surplus.

What's cookin', Nov. 20

As we’d previously reported in this space, a Thai restaurant, Bangkok Thai Cuisine, and a Bavarian-style restaurant, Mason’s Deli and Grill, are coming to the River Market’s Ottenheimer Hall.

Adequate, not authentic

If you’re searching for a realistic Mexican dining experience, Cactus Jack’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant is not the spot.

Emotional Bond-age

As the world economy teeters, as anxieties run high, as bloated self-perception leaks putrid reality, Hollywood busily dismantles our dreams.

Why reward GM?

What could be more revolting than using our hard-earned tax dollars or those of the next generation to bail out General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, especially General Motors?

The Observer, Nov. 20

The Observer decided during the middle of another busy week to get the heck out of Dodge.

Damn Bullets

The Damn Bullets are back with more of their unique brand of relentlessly bouncy electrified ragtime.

Words, Nov. 20

“I get upset over the misuse of words. In the Nov. 6 issue of Arkansas Times, an editorial says ‘[H]e sneered at stockholders’ suggestions that top executives forego bonuses.’

Smart talk, Nov. 20

Fifty-three percent of Arkansas voters want to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to a new poll.

You get what you pay for

According to Rep. Keven Anderson of Rogers, Gov. Mike Beebe’s proposed budget including another tax cut “borders on genius.”

Words, Nov. 20

“I get upset over the misuse of words. In the Nov. 6 issue of Arkansas Times, an editorial says ‘[H]e sneered at stockholders’ suggestions that top executives forego bonuses.’

A penny saved

I do the weekly grocery shopping. Sunday, I spent $109.

In brief, Nov. 20

From Nashville, Brenn specializes in atmospheric pop rock that’s likely to mesh well with local dream-pop collective Bear Colony at On the Rocks, 9 p.m., $5.

Off-week bullet points

Once again, Tim Tebow is primed to snatch the Heisman Trophy from the grasp of the front-runner.

Whale Wars

We like whales as much as the next guy.

To-do List, Nov. 20

Tim Reynolds and TR3, Cool Shoes, Metallica, James McMurty, Punch Brothers, Nada Surf and J-One are among this week' s good-time options.

$9 million Discovery

A couple of days too late to make it into the Times' philanthropy issue last week came the announcement that the Museum of Discovery has gotten the OK for a $9 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation for three new exhibits and a redo of the m

This modern world, Nov. 20

Emotional Bond-age

As the world economy teeters, as anxieties run high, as bloated self-perception leaks putrid reality, Hollywood busily dismantles our dreams.

Orval, Nov. 20

Arkansas’s vote

Arkansas voters uniquely distinguished themselves in two respects in this presidential election.

Emotional Bond-age

As the world economy teeters, as anxieties run high, as bloated self-perception leaks putrid reality, Hollywood busily dismantles our dreams.

Editorial cartoon, Nov. 20

Q & A with Lars

In advance of Saturday's much-anticipated Metallica, Paul Peterson caught Metallica's loquacious drummer Lars Ulrich on the phone during an off day in St. Louis. Read a fuller version of the interview

In Memoriam: Hugh Ashley, 1915-2008

In 1930, a twin-engine Fokker plane was flying low over the wide green valley of Wiley’s Cove, just north of Leslie, Ark.

Progress on Fourche

It’s been floating around for 12 years, but a final environmental impact statement that would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to purchase bottomlands in the Fourche Creek basin for protection and recreation is on its way to Washington.

We Haven’t Won Yet

The reigning Arkansas Times Showcase winner, local rapper 607 plans to release a new album likely by the end of the year.

The perpetual campaign

House speakers have been decided well ahead of time since forever. For years, though,  it was sort of an informal sign-up process that generally produced a winner that passed around at least partly on longevity.

To Twitter or not to Twitter

John Brummett beholds the "advancement" of the news business. Like on-line polls in which readers order up story coverage.

To Twitter or not to Twitter

John Brummett beholds the "advancement" of the news business. Like on-line polls in which readers order up story coverage.

Pension funds: Woe is us

Private pension funds want relief from federal laws that require infusions of capital when values fall below sound levels.

The Obama cabinet

Penny Pritzker to Commerce secretary. Local note: Her brother, J.B. Pritzker, another member of the billionaire Chicago family, gave $25,000 to the Arkansas lottery campaign.

Wicca and custody

A lawyer calls attention to a Court of Appeals decision this week not to rehear an earlier ruling upholding a change of custody of a two-year-old from his mother to his father.

SEC Power Poll: Week 12

Full confession: we slacked last week and forgot to put up our SEC Power Poll ballot.

LR priorities

Sy B. files an op-ed from the Hempwallace Bureau: The city rassles with a $2 million budget deficit and contemplates cutbacks of vital health, safety and infrastructure work.

LR priorities

Sy B. files an op-ed from the Hempwallace Bureau: The city rassles with a $2 million budget deficit and contemplates cutbacks of vital health, safety and infrastructure work.

Is Obama still smoking?

The rising president is being less than transparent about his nicotine habit. That's OK with Michael Kinsley.

Gwatney file released -- mystery remains

State Police and Little Rock police released investigative files in the Aug. 13 slaying of car dealer Bill Gwatney and the police chase and shooting of the man who killed him, Timothy Dale Johnson of Searcy.

Gwatney file released -- mystery remains

State Police and Little Rock police released investigative files in the Aug. 13 slaying of car dealer Bill Gwatney and the police chase and shooting of the man who killed him, Timothy Dale Johnson of Searcy.

A Cranberry Conversation.

They were available at the time of the first Thanksgiving.  But cranberries can be particular polarizing during the holidays.  Some people can't celebrate without them; others find them appalling.  So, how are bog berries served up at your place?  Do you boil them up with orange juice, make them into relish, crush them and serve them with cream cheese or put them in cookies and punch?  Or do you resort to the resounding "slurp" of canned cranberry sauce?  Share your thoughts and recipes on this thread.

Good news on crime front

City officials yesterday told members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association that copper thefts are down.

No more lawsuits for you !

The U.S. Supreme Court lets stand a federal judge's ruling that bars a  disabled man from filing any discrimination lawsuits.   Of course, he did get away with filing 400 before he was stopped.  To paraphrase Shakespeare, "Me thinks he doth protest too much."

Q&A: Bahn on Basketball, Part 1

With the arrival of the hoops season upon us, we decided it was time to chat about this year's Razorback team with Chris Bahn, ArkansasSports360.com's outstanding Hog beat reporter.

Podcastic

  Podcast11/20.mp3

The unnatural state

An environmental group puts Arkansas among the 12 states with the worst-polluting coal-fired power plants.

The unnatural state

An environmental group puts Arkansas among the 12 states with the worst-polluting coal-fired power plants.

Eye of the tiger

-- Brian Chilson photo PETA delivered its public protest of the coming Ringling Brothers circus with a partially clad, tiger-striped woman in a cage in the River Market.

Thursday: Ted Ludwig Quintet, Brenn and more

Ludwig. The Ted Ludwig Quintet continues to celebrate the release of its new CD, "Shebang!" with a show at the Capital Bar and Grill, 5-8 p.m., free, and one at the Afterthought, 8:30 p.m., $7.

Free Candy: Daptone, Light in the Attic, Paper Route Gangstas

Daptone, the best funk/soul revival label goin' is offering a 14-song sampler for FREE for a limited time on Amazon's MP3 site.

DJIA: Do I hear 6,000?

The Dow keeps tanking, covering almost half the distance between yesterday's close and a drop from the 7000s to the 6000s.

Crisis will kill nonprofits

Of course it will. Money for charity is in short supply.

Open line

Over to you. How about some good news for a change.

Cheddar Bay Biscuits with a Side of Ennui

I just finished reading Stewart O'Nan's Last Night at the Lobster, which is a really lovely little book.  It takes place a few days before Christmas, which happens to also be the last night in the life of this particular Red Lobster.  The next day, they will be shut down, and the manager, Manny, will break the news to any customers who come by hoping for a little shrimp scampi or those fantastic biscuits.

On the burglary beat

The Heights neighborhood web group is the source of an account of  a burglary that offers insight into the professionalism of burglars today:

Alltel deal slowed

Roby Brock at Talk Business is reporting that Alltel employees have been told the buyout by Verizon won't close by the end of 2008, as had long been expected. This likely delays the round of layoffs expected when the deal does close.

Cold Weather, Hot Pizza.

With the cold front coming in, it's a good idea to warm yourself both inside and out.  U.S. Pizza Company has several options, including the popular Dave's Favorite (pictured above) and the extremely hot Trey's Chloroplast Blast that'll do the trick.  Pies are on a handthrown thin crust, with plenty of options -- including lots of different specialty pizzas and one of the more complete listings of available toppings in Central Arkansas -- including zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, purple onions, and Feta cheese.  But if you're looking for a real bargain, go for the Stuffy Stix.  They come in full orders (4) or half orders (2).  They're breadsticks split lengthwise and stuffed with cheese and your choice of topping.  I tend to go for the meatball -- which is served up with marinara for dipping.  All the joys of a meatball sandwich, without extemporaneous dressings or veggies.  A hint -- if you're ordering a Fresh Green Salad, you need to specify what you want on said salad.  Without that, you get a pile of lettuce and Bacos.  They'll put all sorts of good stuff on there from the garden if you do remember to ask  Eight locations around town.  Check out the U.S. Pizza Company website for more information.

2-0, Baby

I'll confess to a great deal of pessimism heading into tonight's game. It seemed to me that UC Davis' offense was tailor-made to give the young Piggies fits; I was bracing myself for an ugly loss.

More not to like

The state’s environmental protection agency does not require operators of drilling-mud dump sites to post assurances that they’ll pay for clean-up of the sites.

Against the current

Ted Ludwig is a rare bird. The New Orleans transplant, who came to Arkansas in the wake of Katrina and now says he can’t imagine ever leaving, makes a living playing music in Little Rock.

Act 1 protest

Several groups will join a march to the Capitol and vigil against Initiated Act 1 today.

Huck and Gary Bauer, etc.

Bauer, the Religious Righter, fires back at Mike Huckabee's criticism of Bauer for failing to get behind his presidential bid.

Hard times

Is it just me? Or does it strike you as off-key with the hard times for a newly elected county judge, not yet in public office, to include a brand-new gas guzzler (Dodge Durango) as part of her first budget proposal?

Hillary obsession

It would seem that Barack Obama is about the only steady hand in the media madness that is the unsourced, speculative and generally Hillary-hating coverage attending the Beltway's story of the moment -- whether the senator from New York will become secretary of state.

LRSD woes

Long story in the Democrat-Gazette today about preliminary ideas to cut $10 million in spending in the Little Rock School District on account of a drop in enrollment that apparently is far more severe than originally thought.

LRSD woes

Long story in the Democrat-Gazette today about preliminary ideas to cut $10 million in spending in the Little Rock School District on account of a drop in enrollment that apparently is far more severe than originally thought.

Wal-Mart names new CEO

Mike Duke, 58, will become the new CEO of Wal-Mart on Feb. 1. He succeeds the retiring Lee Scott.

Friday To-Do: Tim Reynolds and TR3

TIM REYNOLDS and TR39 p.m., Revolution. $15.He's one of the most famous sometimes sideman in music today.

Dueling poets

The Iconoclast is the go-to spot for watching the Fayetteville mayoral runoff, particularly if you're a Lioneld Jordan fan.

Friday To-Do: Cool Shoes

Wolf-E-Wolf COOL SHOES9:30 p.m., Downtown Music. $5.It's with shame I'll admit that I haven't been to a Cool Shoes dance party since the first one, where there was someone with a video camera spending a lot of time filming feet.

More Prop. 8 analysis

Nate Silver, the numbers-crunching wizard who founded the indispensable fivethirtyeight.com, is interviewed here. He offers worthy -- and less divisive -- insight on the Prop.

J. Hawg's Pick 10

Another dismal week on the Pick 10 front, as I only got four out of ten right.

What's in a name?

Answer: If the name is vibrators.com, it feels like a million bucks to a Jonesboro company.

Employment: Could be worse

Arkansas's unemployment rate rose from 4.9 to 5.4 percent in October, but that's still well below the national rate of 6.5 percent.

Pulaski school work estimates

The Pulaski County School District says a contractor has estimated it can make roof repairs to the Clinton and Crystal Hill elementary schools within two months of beginning work.

Blog problems noted

Several regular readers with rich records of commenting on the Blog are reporting difficulties with Type Pad, which has taken over from Type Key as the backend service provider on the blog.

Q&A: Bahn on Baskeball, Part 2

Here now is part 2 of our basketball Q&A with ArkansasSports360.com reporter Chris Bahn (click here for part 1 and here for Chris's recent cover story on this year's team).

Q&A: Bantering with the Bulldogs

Now that the Hogs have had their bye week to rest up and let the Dick brothers battle it out for the right to lead the offense into battle, it's time for us to resume our tradition of Q&A sessions with our fellow SEC bloggers.

Oh, Deer.

With modern gun season well underway, you may be wondering what to do with all that deer meat.  Phyllis Speer with Arkansas Game and Fish has a lot of great ideas -- including a Southern favorite, Venison Grits and Grillades.  Do you have a great venison recipe you'd like to share?  Drop us a line in the comment section.

Judges disciplined

The state Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission today issued letters of reprimand to two judges -- Circuit Judge Mary McGowan of Little Rock and Circuit Judge L.T. Simes of Helena-West Helena.

Video: Stepford fan

The Arkansas Project alerts me to this one. He's struck by two things: 1) the star-struck Huckabee fan who says she'll never wash her hand again, having shaken The Huckster's at a Costco book signing, and 2) the Team Huckabee outfits on display -- rugby shirts with epaulets and other adornments.

The Weekend: Thunder from Down Under, Damn Bullets, Kevin Kerby, 'Fall for Ballet'

Yep. FRIDAY 11/21Beefcakes from Australia make the ladies go crazy at “Thunder from Down Under,” the Village, 8 p.m., $15 adv., $20 d.o.s. After months (weeks?)

Saturday To-Do: Punch Brothers

PUNCH BROTHERS8 p.m., Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville. $18-$28.Ex-Nickel Creek mandolin whiz Chris Thile (a former child prodigy who's been releasing albums for more than half of his life) continues to push the bounds of bluegrass in his new band, a quintet that brings together vets of Jerry Douglas' band and the Infamous Stringdusters.

Saturday To-Do: James McMurtry

JAMES MCMURTRY9:30 p.m., Juanita's. $12.Nepotism makes the world go 'round, and Texas' James McMurtry would probably be the first to admit that his famous novelist/screenwriter father, Larry, helped him get a toehold in the business.

Saturday To-Do: Metallica

METALLICA7:30 7 p.m., Alltel Arena, $55-$75.Metallica fans heaving collective sighs of relief that “Death Magnetic” has given the metal pioneers an adrenaline shot and a return-to-roots mindset don't need reminding that the seventh all-time best-selling American band returns to Little Rock Saturday.

Hillary to State

Sounds like it. Sorry, Mo, Chris, etc. An angle with LR implications: People close to the vetting said Mr. Clinton turned over the names of 208,000 donors to his foundation and library and agreed to all of the conditions requested by Mr. Obama’s transition team, including restrictions on his future paid speeches and role at his international foundation.

None dare call it scalping

Did you know that the UA could -- and does -- hold an auction to sell sideline passes to Razorback football games?

Fill 'er up with gas

Not gasoline. Gas.

Televisionist: 'Whale Wars,' 'Ghost Adventures'

"Whale Wars"8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21Animal PlanetWe like whales as much as the next guy.

Dark day at Dillard's -- 500 layoffs

Roby Brock at Talk Business reporting major layoffs at Dillard's, though the company isn't commenting.

Open line

Clearly, our comment problems are continuing. Our software people have worked on it, unsuccessfully so far.

The morning Huck

The Guardian's review of Mike Huckabee's new book: "...demonstrates all the characteristics that defined the former Arkansas governor's 2008 Republican presidential campaign – amiable, funny, endearing, and occasionally inclined to pick the wrong fights over perceived slights."

55 alive

It's safer and more fuel efficient. So I'm with state highway officials who recommend keeping the speed limit on non-Interstate highways at 55 mph.

The Hardin effect

Does the drumbeat of financial problems at UCA in the aftermath of the Hardin administration mean problems, or at least changes, for higher education as a whole in Arkansas?

Bush: Go now

Here's an idea I can heartily endorse: Bush and Cheney resign now. That would put House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in charge -- and beginning an early implementation of the Obama regime.

Credit where due

I ragged the Democrat-Gazette earlier, as did one of our editorials this week, for failing to cover the Little Rock event in a national protest of discrimination against gay people.

Fall finale

Some quick snaps of the colorful carpets that are the final blazes of glory of a couple of my favorite neighborhood trees.

Fall finale

Some quick snaps of the colorful carpets that are the final blazes of glory of a couple of my favorite neighborhood trees.

Hell on the border

The photo is the product of a crusading website that caught some Texarkana deputies in the act of frolicking with car wash gals at a charity event held near a Hooters.

Thanksgiving Twist, Old School Style.

Despite what we have drilled into our heads in elementary school, turkey was not the meat of choice at the first Thanksgiving.  Records show the first gathering to celebrate the harvest between the Wampanoag tribe and the settlers at what would become Plymoth back in 1621, included many ingredients that aren't featured on the average dinner table today.  Of note, the Wampanoag brought five deer for the feasting, along with wild turkeys, waterfowl, squash, and berries.

Thanksgiving Twist, Old School Style.

Despite what we have drilled into our heads in elementary school, turkey was not the meat of choice at the first Thanksgiving.  Records show the first gathering to celebrate the harvest between the Wampanoag tribe and the settlers at what would become Plymoth back in 1621, included many ingredients that aren't featured on the average dinner table today.  Of note, the Wampanoag brought five deer for the feasting, along with wild turkeys, waterfowl, squash, and berries.

The (Bowl) Dream is Over

Wow. Wow.

Open line

Bad day on the football scene. Arkansas falls short.

Tough Day in Razorbackland

Ugh. Given that it was this group's first road game, the result is not unexpected.

Arkansas: Could be worse

Brummett revisits presidential politics and race one last time, today for a riff on some numbers we've mentioned previously.

Metal music

Brian Chilson dropped by the Metallica show at Alltel so I didn't have to. James Hetfield caught in the act.

The perils of cell phones

David Koon scans the news for headlines you might have missed: Not News: A guy in Fayetteville leaves his cellphone at McDonald's.

A break for pet owners

Leslie Peacock wrote an item about this coming legislation a while back for the Times, but here's more on the state Health Department's plans to ask this legislative session for approval of pet rabies vaccinations every three years, rather than every year.

Anybody but a Bush

Gallup, polling Republicans about future presidential candidates, finds the picks, in order: Palin, Romney, Huckabee.

Scandal probe's Ark. angle

I'd noticed a brief item on the latest former lobbyist tied to the Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, but until eLwood called it to my attention, I didn't notice he had Arkansas ties.

Fight The Chill With Chili.

What better way to escape the oncoming chill of winter than with a steaming hot bowl of chili?  If you enjoy making chili or feel the thrill of competition, consider joining in the 7th Annual Chili Cook-Off Fundraiser at Hot Springs' Exchange Street Parking Plaza this Tuesday.  There is no entry fee for competitors, but each team must create 10 gallons of chili.  Teams must provide their own ingredients, cooking aparatus, and such.  There will be electricity for competitors who need it.  Cooking begins at 1 p.m.

Mitt takes the high road

The high road is generally the road not taken by Mike Huckabee. But Mitt Romney?

Open line

How about some French toast and hot curried fruit? That's as controversial as I can get tonight.

More not to like

The state's environmental protection agency does not require operators of drilling-mud dump sites to post assurances that they'll pay for clean-up of the sites.

The Best Food Scam In Town

     First question- Have you been to Jason’s Deli lately? They have the best salad bar on Earth.

Mike Huckabee's 'unseemly' show

Brummett takes his licks at Mike Huckabee's new "book" and its publicity-dominating attack on Mitt Romney.

Election redux

Michael Moore's website has a roundup of election night celebration videos from around the country.

The profit motive

Call me thoroughly unsurprised. WASHINGTON — Private health insurance plans, which serve nearly a fourth of all Medicare beneficiaries, have increased the cost and complexity of the program without any evidence of improving care, researchers say in studies to be published Monday.

The profit motive

Call me thoroughly unsurprised. WASHINGTON — Private health insurance plans, which serve nearly a fourth of all Medicare beneficiaries, have increased the cost and complexity of the program without any evidence of improving care, researchers say in studies to be published Monday.

Blog problems

We are still working on the Blog sign-in problem. It does appear to continue to be the case that, once you've signed in, that you must redundantly put your name in the "name" box on the comment page and check the "remember personal information" box for your comment to post.

In Review: Metallica

James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. Photo by Brian Chilson.

Metallica pics

James Hetfield. Photo by Brian Chilson.

R.I.P. Clint G

Got word of the weekend that local rapper Clint G (real name Clinton Hill) was killed in a car crash.

Those overpaid U.S. autoworkers

Somebody told me the other day that employees of U.S. automakers are paid $100,000 a year.

Franken by 27 votes

That's the predicted outcome from Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com I'm willing to buy that. But.

Service notice

We're going to shut down our server at 11 a.m. for three to five minutes in our continuing effort to resolve the Type Pad sign-in issue.

Creative Cakes at Capi's.

The restaurant hasn't been open but a few weeks, but people are buzzing about Capi's, the new eatery at the Pleasant Ridge Town Center.  The "small plates" concept restaurant features all sorts of Asian and Mexican fusion dishes... but it's the desserts that have been catching major attention.

Bill Clinton: It's always something

Bill Clinton agreed to reveal to Barack Obama all contributors to his foundation and also agreed to other conditions so that he wouldn't present a conflict to his wife's future work as secretary of state.

Emergencies on campus

A committee studying UCA emergency notification procedures as a result of an on-campus shooting has filed a report.

Hardy, har, Huck

From Politico: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he was surprised by John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin because he believes the only difference between himself and the Alaska governor is “she looks better in stilettos than I do.” Reflecting on the Palin pick in an interview with the New Yorker posted Monday, Huckabee told the magazine that “I was scratching my head, saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute.

Congratulations Nolan

Along with the likes of Charles Barkley, Danny Manning and Dick Vitale, Nolan Richardson was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame over the weekend.

Wal-Mart (R-Bentonville)

Story on former Wal-Mart lobbyist fired on account of his invovlement in Abramoff scandal: He was in charge of  "Republican outreach" at Wal-Mart.

Ark. plane in crash

A plane crash near Nashville, Tenn., today killed three. The flight originated in Hot Springs and a Hot Springs couple reportedly were on the plane, but IDs have not yet been released.

Remember the Alamo kids

They'll stay in state custody for now.

What if they gave a Black Friday ....

... and nobody came? Idle thought on news that McCain Mall will open at 5 a.m.

Election myths

Already dispelled has been the massive turnout myth. Now add this one:

Open the line

Is it just me? Or are we already in holiday week doldrums?

Wine Time at Mount Magazine.

Off for Thanksgiving week and looking for something to do?  Check out the Wine Country Tour at Mount Magazine Tuesday.  Participants will gather at the Lodge to travel by van down to Altus for touring and sampling at the River Valley's fine wineries.  Eat lunch on your own at one of the local eateries (Kelt's Pub is a favorite of ours) and enjoy a day with someone else doing the driving.  Want to go?  You must register at the Lodge front desk by 8:30 a.m.  The tour lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $10.  For more information, call Mount Magazine State Park at (479) 963-5237 or check out the park's website.

Bush pardons

The final ones have begun. The question addressed in USA Today is whether Bush can pardon himself.

Intruder shot

Meant to mention this earlier. Police report a homeowner killed one man and shot at another when they tried to break into his home around midnight last night.

REDO REDUX . . .

We were never certain, back during the campaign, whether Mike Huckabee was serious about this look or not, given his impish sense of humor about being passed over for Palin.

Killing the Fairytale.

A while ago, a good friend asked, "You're so normal, why are you single?" For me, a resounding question recently asked by yet another friend.

I Am Not a Foodie

I used to think the best thing about Thanksgiving was that it held Christmas at bay for a few weeks because, frankly, two months of love and goodwill toward one's fellow man is just too much.  I don't have enough peace and milk of human kindness in me to last from Halloween to New Year's.  But Thanksgiving has been falling down on the job for some time now, and this year I saw Christmas cards on sale before Halloween.  You guys, I've had it with Thanksgiving.

Obama's team

Thanks John Brummett. There's been entirely too much moaning about the presence of former Clinton administration hands in the incoming Obama administration.

The second med school

The battle is over. There's going to be a full-fledged second med school in NWA even though there have been some doubts from time to time about the quality of Arkansas enrollees in the one medical school.

Who you callin' unsafe?

The LRPD is sending around a U.S. Conference of Mayors warning about comparing the relative safety of cities based on FBI crime stats.

Tuesday To-Do: Nada Surf

NADA SURF8 p.m., Juanita's. $13-$15.Brooklyn's Nada Surf spent the first half of the aughts making moody pop records about restlessness and lost love.

Bargain Sushi That Ain't Scary.

Lunchtime buffets can be hit or miss, so when you find a good one you stick with it.  Which is why I have to give kudos to Panda Garden in the new Shackleford Crossing Shopping Center.  For a fast, easy lunch that suits a lot of different sorts of tastes, it's pretty darn good.

Florida judge rules for kids

For the second time, a Florida judge has ruled the state's ban on gay adoptions unconstitutional.

Change, Obama-style

Interesting comment on TPM about how Obama will redefine bipartisanship and "center." It won't be easy.

This is the Way the Season Ends, Not With a Bang but a Whimper

Well, fellow Hog fans, it's hard to believe, but we're only a few short days away from the end of the 2008 football season.

Multi-media man

John Brummett wrote the other day about the new media, including the KATV feature in which reporter Kristin Fisher takes votes among readers about stories to cover and takes readers along on the coverage via cellphone.

Multi-media man

John Brummett wrote the other day about the new media, including the KATV feature in which reporter Kristin Fisher takes votes among readers about stories to cover and takes readers along on the coverage via cellphone.

Kinard to Court of Appeals

Gov. Mike Beebe has appointed former state Sen. Mike Kinard of Magnolia to fill a Court of Appeals vacancy created by Judge Sam Bird's resignation.

Files out of GOP race

I don't know if I ever mentioned he was in. But City Wire in Fort Smith says Rep. Jake Files won't be seeking GOP state chair after all.

Open line

You're up. Be sure to thank County Judge Buddy Villines for his continued hard work and careful husbanding of public dollars, now that voters have rewarded him with another term.

Open line

You're up. Be sure to thank County Judge Buddy Villines for his continued hard work and careful husbanding of public dollars, now that voters have rewarded him with another term.

The Obama effect

History, of course, will record Nov. 4, 2008, as a watershed moment in the United States. But if you happened to be riding in a particular van to and from Nixa, Mo., on the next-to-the-last weekend in October, you would have gotten a sneak preview of what Barack Obama's election could mean for Arkansas race relations.

Fayetteville's new mayor

Fayetteville voters swept two-term incumbent Mayor Dan Coody out of office yesterday, opting for Lioneld Jordan.

Mansion moment

Several readers commented last week when a photo of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion had a cameo in an episode of the hit series "Thirty Rock."

The Hillary appointment

The dead-enders still labor: It's unconstitutional to name her secretary of state, precedent and previous workarounds be damned.

The Hillary appointment

The dead-enders still labor: It's unconstitutional to name her secretary of state, precedent and previous workarounds be damned.

Christmas harbinger?

William Dillard cites an "oppressive economic climate" in explaining the LR department store company's latest, disastrous results.

Interesting question

A prosecutor in another jurisdiction asks for an attorney general's opinion on a matter of high interest in Pulaski County.

Wednesday To-Do: J-One

Photo by Dero Sanford. J-ONE9 p.m., Juanita's.

UA names provost

Sharon Gaber, an official at Auburn University, will become provost of the Fayetteville campus of the University of Arkansas May 1.

She who must be obeyed

Sally Quinn, Beltway bimbo of yore, informs the Obamas (link corrected) where they should attend church.

More Than A Good Dish.

In Stuttgart, Duck Gumbo is more than just a delicious dish.  More, even, than a popular competition at the Wings Over The Prairie Festival.  It's a party of some extensive reknown.

Employee Free Choice Act

Media Matters here examines (link corrected) the one-sided presentation by Fox News of the pending legislation to allow card sign-offs on union representation.

Franken setback

The recount of votes in the Al Franken-Norm Coleman race for Senate in Minnesota grinds on, with no new clarity in view.

Showcase time

Mr. Morbid and last year's winner 607. We've set the dates for the 2009 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase.

The group briefly, formerly known as Bad Balance live!

  From last Friday's Cool Shoes, which BTW, is THE place to be if you're 16-22, somewhat less so for grown-er folks, but still fun.Ex-Bad Balance has the potential of being great, I think.

Terrorists at work

Heard about the terrorist attacks in India today? Teams targeted luxury hotels in Mumbai and killed dozens of British and American visitors.

Review: Free Blood 'The Singles'

Free Blood exists to rock the party. Sweatily.

I Give Thanks for Stefan Welsh

And Courtney Fortson. And Rotnei Clark.

An Arkie to the rescue

Here's the latest mention that James Lee Witt, the country boy from Wildcat Hollow, Ark. who did such a good job as Bill Clinton's FEMA director, could be joining the Obama administration, at least for a time, to help fix the mess Bush made.

Last night: Nada Surf

Photo: Jim Hunnicutt Photography Nada SurfNov. 25, Juanita'sAt 10:30 p.m., Nada Surf took the stage against a black backdrop with blue lights sparkling, reminiscent of the night sky illustrated on the cover of their latest album "Lucky."

Pay what you can night at the Rep

Next week, on the first preview night of the Rep's "It's a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play," the theater is allowing folks to pay any amount they choose for their ticket.

Q&A with Nate Powell

Nate Powell, self-portrait. Bonus Q&As from the interview I did with Nate Powell, author of the fine new graphic novel, "Swallow Me Whole."

Happy holiday

It might be a nervous holiday weekend for some in the Pulaski County School District.

Happy holiday

It might be a nervous holiday weekend for some in the Pulaski County School District.

In Praise of Pie.

Remember the fried pies McDonald's used to serve back in the '70s?  The tasty treats were a personal favorite of mine, even more tantalizing than Happy Meals.  I always tried to talk the adults I was with into purchasing one for me.  There was something about the texture, the flavor, the sheer warmth and scent of a hot pie that made me happy.

Friday To-Do: Hogs vs. LSU

Da boot. Doubt it.

Friday: 'The Toymaker's Apprentice'

‘THE TOYMAKER'S APPRENTICE'7 p.m., Arkansas Children's Theatre. $11-$14. The Arkansas Children's Theatre bills this season's play as a “modern fable.” That might be a stretch.

Friday To-Do: 'Great Russian Nutcracker'

‘GREAT RUSSIAN NUTCRACKER'7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $25-$65.Goodbye Thanksgiving, hello holiday season madness.

Saturday To-Do: Sugar and the Raw

SUGAR AND THE RAW9:30 p.m., Juanita's. $8.Several years back, the kids couldn't get enough of Sugar and the Raw (who were long Sugar in the Raw before a threatening letter from the sugar giant inspired the change).

Saturday To-Do: North Mississippi Allstars

NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS8:30 p.m., Revolution. $18 adv., $20 d.o.s.Between 1992-93 Luther and Cody Dickinson (sons of famed producer, session man and Little Rock native Jim Dickinson) used to play Vino's as part of a young blues-infested power trio out of Memphis called DDT.

Saturday To-Do: Hayes Carll

HAYES CARLL9 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $13 adv., $15 d.o.s.Here's where the crowd starts hollering: “Arkansas, my head hurts/I'd love to stick around and maybe make it worse.” That's how Hayes Carll opens a song on his latest album, “Trouble in Mind.” A Texas native who schooled at Hendrix and married an Arkansas woman, Carll's no stranger to showing Natural State love.

Open line

Cooking at our place. And watching the horror in India.

Open line

Cooking at our place. And watching the horror in India.

The Lasagna Lesson

     I made lasagna from scratch the other night. It was an arduous process.
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