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The guide to Arkansas entertainment

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For food lovers

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On art in Arkansas

Street Jazz

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Eat Arkansas

Dinner on the Patio

Brave New Restaurant remains a gem in the crown of Little Rock restaurants.

Zangna Thai Cuisine in Little Rock

A mostly positive experience.

Nexus Coffee and Creative opens Saturday

Nexus Coffee and Creative, 301B President Clinton Ave., will open at 7 a.m. Saturday, July 15, becoming the third new downtown coffee house to open in as many months this year.

Dining Review

Brunch with a punch

July 27, 2017
Brunch with a punch
The Southern Gourmasian's brunch may be the best-kept secret in town. /more/

Dining Search

To-Do List

"Night of the Living Dead" at Ron Robinson Theater

July 26, 2017
"Night of the Living Dead" at Ron Robinson Theater
Also, Faulkner Chamber Music Festival, Big Piph's "Celebrate" Release Party, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, "Crown: The Final Curtain Call," Grateful Dead Meet-Up at the Movies and more /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

Head-shaking

Another edition of so-much-bad-news-so-little space. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Not Whitewater

Just think: If Democrats had turned out 78,000 more votes in three states in November, people could be reveling today in the prospect of impeaching and convicting President Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, as some Republican lawmakers had promised to try to do if she won. /more/

Gene Lyons

Buyer remorse

Out here in flyover country, you can't hardly go by the feed store without running into a reporter doing one of those Wisdom of the Heartland stories. /more/

Movie Reviews

Live and let die

July 20, 2017
Live and let die
'Apes' reboot is satisfying, if not daring. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Five big questions for Arkansas football

July 20, 2017
Among them: Can Austin Allen get a better handle on the job and rein in his emotions? /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Eat Arkansas

For food lovers

Eye Candy

On art in Arkansas

Street Jazz

A view from Northwest Arkansas

Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 19:13:00

County approves bike trail

click to enlarge MORE BIKE TRAILS: A county governing body said yes.
  • MORE BIKE TRAILS: A county governing body said yes.

The Pulaski County Quorum Court today approved spending county money toward building a 65-mile bike/foot trail to Saline County. The vote was 10-3, with two absent.

County Judge Barry Hyde, a recreational biker himself, rounded up the 10 Democratic members of the county governing board necessary to approve the spending. The vote was 10-3, with three Republicans in opposition and two Republicans absent. Republican opposition had slowed the project previously.

The proposal had failed earlier because of absence from some JPs. As we've commented earlier, the opposition was nuts. The Republicans and Waltons have built a huge bike/hike trail in Northwest Arkansas, the Razorback Greenway, that shows how valuable this kind of expenditure can be. The popularity of the Big Dam Bridge and other river trail investments also support this planning grant.

Republicans prefer spending county money on other things. They lost tonight. Thank goodness.


 

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 17:05:00

Dyspeptic dialing: The Mooch unloads on his colleagues

click to enlarge QUOTABLE: Ryan Lizza's interview with Anthony Scaramucci is an Internet sensation. One writer remarked Lizza hadn't gotten more solid gold quotes in a single story than he'd gotten in an entire career.
  • QUOTABLE: Ryan Lizza's interview with Anthony Scaramucci is an Internet sensation. One writer remarked Lizza hadn't gotten more solid gold quotes in a single story than he'd gotten in an entire career.
You gotta read this piece by Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker about a phone called he received from White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci. In any other White House, he'd be gone. In Trumpland, home of the pussy grabber, it'll probably get him a new MAGA cap.

He called Lizza because he'd scored a little scoop on a White House dinner Scaramucci attended with Trump and a couple of Fox Newsers.  The Mooch wanted to know the leaker. Lizza wasn't talking. But Scaramucci let it all hang out.

He's going to fire leakers, he declaimed. He's going to sic the FBI on people. He's got a big dagger sharpened for chief of staff Reince Priebus. Like I say, read it. Among the quotes that are clogging the Twittersphere:

* "Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac.”

* Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist.

* "What I want to do is I want to kill all the leakers."

* “The swamp will not defeat him,” he said, breaking into the third person. “They’re trying to resist me, but it’s not going to work. I’ve done nothing wrong on my financial disclosures, so they’re going to have to go fuck themselves.”
The episode reminded me of the late-night calls by Arkansas native daughter Martha Mitchell, wife of Attorney General John Mitchell, during the runup to Nixon's Watergate downfall. That was hot stuff at the time, but pretty tame next to The Mooch.

 

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 16:31:42

Trump voter panel renews request for information; Arkansas turns it over

click to enlarge KRIS KOBACH: Voter intimidation effort continues.
  • KRIS KOBACH: Voter intimidation effort continues.

The hotly controversial request for voter information
from an ad hoc panel working for Donald Trump has been renewed. UPDATE: Arkansas has already turned its data over, to a White House computer portal.

Vice Chair Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state infamous for bogus voter fraud claims, sent letters to all 50 states asking for all publicly available voter information. California has already refused. His first request met resistance in all or part from 44 states. Said Secretary of State Alex Padilla:

“The commission’s new request does nothing to address the fundamental problems with the commission’s illegitimate origins, questionable mission or the preconceived and harmful views on voting rights that many of its commissioners have advanced.” 

Only Arkansas supplied information before the request was withdrawn on account of pending lawsuits. The commission, later given a pass by a federal judge in one case now on appeal, told Arkansas officials that information was "deleted."

In his second letter, Kobach said he would not release any “personally identifiable information” and the commission would delete voter information, as permitted by federal law, once its work concluded.

“Individuals’ voter registration records will be kept confidential and secure throughout the duration of the commission’s existence,” Kobach wrote in the Wednesday letter. “The only information that will be made public are statistical conclusions drawn from the data, other general observations that may be drawn from the data, and any correspondence that you may send to the commission’ responding to questions in the June 28 letter.
He's apparently still requesting the same information, which includes the last four digits of a Social Security number and military and criminal records if publicly available.

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin sent Kobach earlier files that included names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, birth dates and voting history (which elections, including which primaries) and party identification). This information is available on disk to anyone who asks for a $2 charge and is often tapped by political parties and candidates for get-out-the-vote efforts. Nonetheless, many voters haven't been happy to learn this personal information is being shared so widely. Martin wasn't too happy to get calls at home after his information was shared. In some states, voters have canceled registration rather than having information shared.

Critics say the Kobach approach is a flawed way to produce evidence of voter fraud. It's not illegal to be registered in more than one state (as, for example, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was when she ran) and duplicate names make voter name matchups unreliable. The effort is tied to Trump's often voiced but unsubstantiated belief that he lost to Hillary Clinton in the popular vote count by 3 million votes. He fails to realize the suggestion of widespread fraud calls into question his own electoral college victory. Studies indicate vote suppression laws by Republicans in key battleground states decided by razor-thin margins would be a more fruitful area of inquiry.

I asked Martin's office this morning whether it had received the letter and requested a copy of it. I also asked if the information had already been sent, or would be sent, in the same manner as before. As yet, no response.

Mark Martin is friendly with Kobach. As a result, a former Democratic legislator, David Dunn, who's now a lobbyist, is on the commission. He's defended the work but said the commission would work to ensure privacy.

ALSO: The Commission is getting sued all over the place, though not yet in Arkansas. Here's a list.

UPDATE: I got a late afternoon response from Chris Powell in the secretary of state's office:

yes, we did receive another letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. A copy of the letter is attached. As before, they requested only voter data that is publicly available. We are complying with that request and uploaded the data at approximately 3:30 this afternoon. We realize that a number of citizens have strong opinions regarding this process. We have set up a hotline at 501-435-3294, where they may call and voice their opinion.

 

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Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 09:47:00

Little Rock Nine-inspired "No Tears Suite" premieres at Central High in September

click to enlarge central-high-resized.jpg

As part of the three-day series of events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the integration of Central High School, the Oxford American magazine presents the world premiere of the “No Tears Suite,” a 30-minute composition for large jazz ensemble from Little Rock composer and pianist Chris Parker, a music teacher at Booker Arts Magnet Elementary School in Little Rock. Parker took inspiration for the piece from “Warriors Don’t Cry,” the 1994 memoir from Melba Patillo Beals, a journalist and one of the Little Rock Nine. Parker’s ensemble for the premiere includes Grammy Award-winning drummer Brian Blade, bassist Bill Huntington, tenor saxophonist Bobby LaVell, trumpeter Marc Franklin, alto saxophonist Chad Fowler, vocalist Kelley Hurt and vocalist/arranger I.J. Routen. The premiere begins at 6 p.m. and is a part of a 90-minute set including “a variety of Arkansas- and civil rights-inspired jazz tunes, including works by Pharoah Sanders, Sam Rivers, John Stubblefield and Charles Mingus,” a press release said. Before the premiere, from noon to 6 p.m., student ensembles from local high schools and colleges will perform. For more information about the “No Tears Suite” premiere, visit oxfordamerican.org/events, and for more information about the commemoration events, to take place Sept. 23-25, visit uca.edu/cfac/central60.


 

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 09:42:00

ASO performs "The Magical Music of Harry Potter"

click to enlarge image_1.jpg

Harry Potter fans can look forward to the Arkansas Symphony’s next season, which will include “The Magical Music of Harry Potter,” a concert of selected orchestral versions of music from all eight Harry Potter films composed by John Williams, Patrick Doyle, Nicholas Hooper and Alexandre Desplat. Audience members are encouraged to dress as their favorite character from J.K. Rowling’s saga about the boy wizard.

Tickets for the two concerts, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at the Robinson Center Performance Hall go on sale at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 24, at arkansassymphony.org/magic.


 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 10:12:00

Comedian Joe Mande's new special includes story of going to taping of "Huckabee" stoned

click to enlarge SOURCE: YOUTUBE.COM
  • SOURCE: Youtube.com
In his new Netflix special, "Joe Mande's Award-Winning Comedy Special," the eponymous Joe Mande tells a long joke about going to see former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's Fox News show "Huckabee" after eating a pot brownie. I'm not going to ruin the joke, so just watch the special. (Or, if you don't have Netflix, there was a less polished version of the story told on the now defunct "The Pete Holmes Show.")

The biggest bon mot of the joke is probably Mande, incredibly high, laughing hard at Huckabee's horrific monologue jokes and Huckabee's sanctification from thinking he is killing. The former Governor — or, as Mande dubs him, "probably future ambassador to Chick-fil-A" — rightfully draws scorn for indulging in the fantasy he is a comedian. And Mande, a former writer on "Parks and Recreation," has for awhile on Twitter been reaping the rewards of that idiocy. Uproxx did an article in which Mande is quoted saying of Huckabee's tweet jokes: “Oh my god, it’s so awful....His jokes hurt. They hurt your brain to read.”

Huckabee has become a national version of the lame Dad/preacher type trying to relate to the 'youth' with puns and rock 'n' roll. Luckily, Mande fills the necessary role in response to this: a kid in the back of the church mercilessly making fun of him.

Ah, that beautiful local cycle on a national stage; it's fun to watch.

Check out the trailer for the special here.

 

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