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Time to feedback on what you've been eating this week. Let us know what's got you drooling.
The time commitment required to park yourself at the feet of Baja Grill, it will be well worth your effort. Take a seat on their ample outdoor seating while the weather is still permissive, and bask in the glow of burrito brilliance.
Gus's in the River Market brings incredible chicken to Little Rock.
Do-it-yourself crafting studio, gifts and more.
Photographs, architectural plans, furniture and a talk by design experts.
"Beautiful Uprising" reception tonight, talk by artist Saturday.
My overriding emotion about the fate of state Treasurer Martha Shoffner is sadness. /more/
Americans are instinctively wiser than their leaders when it comes to foreign policy, at least until their emotions are manipulated to support mindless war. /more/
Politico reports that the gun control group backed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is following through with plans to buy TV time — $350,000 worth — criticizing U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor for helping defeat some modest gun measures recently, particularly universal background checks.
The irony, of course, is that they'll be contributing to damage of Pryor that will accrue to the benefit of the Club for Growth's Tom Cotton, a nominal 4th District representative who plans to take the Club for Greed's money to go after Pryor. Cotton is rarely depicted in his material without a gun in his hand. He's a gun absolutist. In his view, there is NO law that should be passed relative to gun regulation.
Pryor has been disappointing on the issue, no doubt. But ...
UPDATE: The ad is hard-hitting. See it above. It brings up the shooting death of former State Democratic Party Chair Bill Gwatney in as senseless an act of gun violence as I can imagine.
The ad features Angela Bradford Barnes, chief financial officer of the Arkansas Democratic Party at the time.
When my dear, innocent friend was shot to death, I didn’t blame guns. I blamed a system that makes it so terribly easy for criminals or the dangerous mentally ill to buy guns. That’s why I was so disappointed when Mark Pryor voted against comprehensive background checks. On that vote, he let us down.
Gun violence has personally affected my life in a tremendous way. I have spent years working for Arkansas’ Democrats and was at work with Bill Gwatney the day he was senselessly taken from us,” said Bradford-Barnes in a press release. “The pain of that experience will always be a part of me. Like 84 percent of Arkansans I support universal background checks. Thus, I was heartbroken to see that Senator Pryor opposed the bi-partisan bill because it will save lives. This bill may not be perfect, and it cannot undue my tragic loss, but if it stops even one person from causing this pain to another family, it’s worth it. I hope that if Senator Pryor is given another chance to lead on this issue he thinks first about Arkansas voters like me.
Pryor responded sharply:
“New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg didn’t know Bill Gwatney. I knew Bill Gwatney. He was my friend and he was killed by someone with severe mental health issues. The Mayor’s bill would have done nothing to prevent his death because it fails to adequately address the real issue and common thread in all of these shootings — mental health.
“That’s why I voted for separate legislation that strengthens funding for mental health programs; requires states, courts, and agencies to report mental health records to the background check system; increases penalties for straw purchases; reauthorizes and funds the COPS program to improve safety in schools; holds the Department of Justice accountable by forcing them to prosecute cases where individuals tried to purchase firearms illegally; and conducts a study on violence in the media. This legislation would have done all of this while protecting people’s 2nd amendment rights.
“Mayor Bloomberg’s attack ad politicizes the death of my friend by misleading people into thinking that his bill would have prevented Bill Gwatney’s tragic death. The fact is it wouldn’t have, which makes Mayor Bloomberg’s ad even more disgusting.”
German brewers have warned Chancellor Angela Merkel that any law allowing the controversial drilling technique known as fracking could damage the country's cherished beer industry.
The Brauer-Bund beer association is worried that fracking for shale gas, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground, could pollute water used for brewing and break a 500-year-old industry rule on water purity.
Speaking of former Treasurer Martha Shoffner, accused of taking kickbacks for steering huge sums of state bond business to the broker making the payments:
Here's another former state treasurer ensnared in a public corruption case, Tim Cahill of Massachusetts. He agreed to pay $100,000 and admitted he should have known a lottery advertising campaign he authorized (while running for governor) was illegal. The lottery ads touted his management of the enterprise. That was in March.
Today came news closer to the Arkansas situation from Bloomberg.
A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) investment banker will pay $100,000 to resolve U.S. regulatory claims that he made improper contributions to a Massachusetts treasurer while seeking state underwriting business.
Neil Morrison, who worked on then-Treasurer Tim Cahill’s unsuccessful run for governor from November 2008 to October 2010 while he was employed by Goldman Sachs, also agreed to be barred from the securities industry for five years, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement today.
The immunity from federal prosecution given an Arkansas broker who said he made cash payments to Shoffner likely doesn't end his entanglement with other agencies. Our sources have said Steele Stephens of Little Rock (no relation to the Stephens Inc. investment empire), who resigned this week as a salesman for St. Bernard Financial Services, was the key informant for the feds. We first reported in October 2011 a sharp increase in his share of state bond business, a development current and former employees linked to his friendship with Shoffner.
By the way: David Smith of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette wrote a great story this morning (subscription reqd.) on the shifting policies of Shoffner's bond investments. He had some welcome perspective on the difficulties of drawing hard conclusions — as the politically motivated audit did — about the wisdom of some of the bond trading. Auditors were readily able to see — with the clarity of hindsight — that interest rates didn't perform as traders expected in liquidating a state bond position (at a healthy gain) and putting the money in a higher yielding bond that got called because interest rates continued to drop. It includes, too, the historical shift from CDs, now paying next-to-nothing, to bond investments and then shifts from committing to bond purchases for fixed periods to riskier trading. Even then, the risks weren't nearly that taken by large state retirement accounts, which can hold investments for longer periods and endure greater risks for higher returns.
This was one of several dubious comparisons by Legislative Audit — thrown up on a huge TV screen at the time for effect — that tarred its findings. Even if the trading was bad judgment — and that's a fair question to study as office procedures are examined — it wasn't evidence of illegality. The driving question always was whether that big shift in business to one broker, even if he'd made profitable call after profitable call, had an unsavory explanation. That turned out to be true. Much as legislators might wish the FBI would throw out subpoenas and search warrants based on suspicion, probable cause is necessary. It took 18 months, but that finally arrived with a taped phone call May 9 in which Shoffner allegedly asked her bond salesman to buy her some property and then, May 18, a cash-filled pie delivery under the watchful surveillance equipment of the FBI.
It's lost to the ages, but the brokers defended their trading several times. Here. And more specifically here. Of course, even a thoroughly superior investment record is no justification for winning business by illegal means.
Here's the latest in our music video series collaboration with Greg Spradlin and Camp Friday Films. It features Buddy Flett, the legendary Louisiana guitarist, live at White Water Tavern. A founding member of A-Train and the The Bluebirds, Buddy's forthcoming album on Honeybee Records was produced by Jason Weinheimer at Fellowship Hall Sound.
In Eureka Springs, the May Festival of the Arts continues with a concert from veteran folk duo Trout Fishing in America, The Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
Anyone with an interest in sustainable food systems and fighting against the forces of Big Ag will probably want to be at the March Against Monsanto at the Arkansas State Capitol, 1 p.m.
Nashville indie-folk duo Elenowen (married couple Josh and Nicole Johnson who were on season one of NBC's "The Voice") play a free show at Juanita's with Cliff Hutchison, 7 p.m.
Maxine's has an evening of burly rock, with Opportunist (featuring members of Holy Shakes), Booyah! Dad, Tiger High and Black Horse, 8 p.m., $5 adv., $7 door.
In Fayetteville, space-rock riffmeisters Mothwind play an 18-and-older gig at The Lightbulb Club with locals Dying, $5.
Psych-pop quartet Tsar Bomba plays with Bombay Harambee at White Water Tavern, 9:30 p.m.
7TH STREET UNDERGROUND FESTIVAL
1 p.m. 7th Street. $10.
Little Rock's 7th Street has long held a special place in the city's cultural landscape. Within a few blocks of each other, you've got The Weekend Theater, 7th Street Tattoos, Art Outfitters and Vino's, all of which qualify as institutions at this point.
So what better way to celebrate the spirited artistic hub than with an annual festival featuring art, music, food, beer and more? An outdoor stage in the lot just east of 7th Street Tattoos will host a raft of bands and other entertainment, including magic tricks, sideshows, fire spinners, spoken word performances and music from Austin Jones and Smooth Spirit, Itinerant Locals, Go Fast!, Jab Jab Suckerpunch, Peckerwolf and This Holy House.
Inside Vino's, they'll be screening episodes of "The Ren & Stimpy Show" and other cartoons from 5-9 p.m., followed by live music from Flameing Daeth Fearies, Sam Walker, Neon Skin and Flint Eastwood. There will be beer, margaritas and carnival food vendors in the lot next to 7th Street Tattoos and Vino's, naturally, will be serving up beer, wine, pizza, sandwiches and more.
A YIMBY article - Yes In My Back Yard. A rabid Fayettevillian criticizing Walton Arts…
If that tar sands pipeline could be converted to Canadian whisky, no one would mind…
In the medium- to long-term, it will be the churches that bolt the Boy Scouts…
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