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Arkansas Blog

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The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Dining Review

A diner that's the real deal

October 19, 2017
A diner that's the real deal
Littlefield's on JFK. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

Comedy of bad manners

October 19, 2017
Comedy of bad manners
A sugary Moliere remix helps the medicine go down at The Rep. /more/


Max Brantley

Caution: government at work

I have several government targets this week. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Tax tales

The easiest task in the world may be to persuade people that they are paying higher taxes than folks in other communities, states and countries, but there is never a shortage of people taking on the task. /more/

Gene Lyons

The casting couch

Long ago and far away, I had an academic superior who enjoyed sexually humiliating younger men. There was unwanted touching — always in social situations — but mainly it was about making suggestive remarks, hinting that being a "hunk" was how I'd got hired. /more/

Movie Reviews

American Made' is as swift as Seal's hustle

October 5, 2017
American Made' is as swift as Seal's hustle
It's a Reagan-era romp from director Doug Liman. /more/

Pearls About Swine

Thumped again

October 19, 2017
Seems like a bad prescription for beating the all-pro assemblage of talent that dons Alabama garb year in, year out, but the Arkansas Razorbacks started their third quarterback in three years against the Crimson Tide, and the end result was predictable. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Arkansas Blog

Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 17:19:00

Saturday night live

What you got?  I'm enjoying story of a $32 million settlement of a sixth sexual harassment complaint against Bill O'Reilly. Fake news, he says. Not the payment, just the allegations. Who wouldn't pay a trivial $32M to make a lie go away?


Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 08:03:00

The lying liars of the Trump administration and the missed point

click to enlarge HOW DARE YOU? Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was "inappropriate" to question retired Gen. John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, about the inaccurate things he said about a Florida congresswoman.
  • HOW DARE YOU? Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was "inappropriate" to question retired Gen. John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, about the inaccurate things he said about a Florida congresswoman.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly misspoke/lied about Rep. Frederica Wilson of Florida and owes her an apology for doing so in attempting to protect Donald Trump from Wilson's criticism of his handling of sympathy calls to a family of a soldier killed in Niger.

That part is simple and indisputable, with TV video available to disprove Kelly's false characterization of a public speech by Wilson. Read the Washington Post opinion here. (Link corrected.)

I happen to also think it is indisputable, as Wilson believes, that her race is a factor in the nature of the response from the White House and Trump's supporters to her criticism. I also think Trump meant well in his call to a bereaved family, but, lacking empathy or compassion for others, was overmatched in a difficult task.

It is also true that there's a lot of lying, misinformation and political spin going around on something that could use less  — the loss of American lives in combat. Molly Roberts of the Washington Post emphasized what's being overlooked after spreading blame around to most everyone.

The country needs to know why Sgt. La David Johnson and three others came home in coffins, and that was where Trump should have started. We should also ask why we are engaged in the conflict that caused their death. We could discuss to what extent the president is responsible for either and to what extent any president is responsible for the deaths of soldiers during his time in the Oval Office.

Of course, soldiers’ deaths are political. If they weren’t, there would be no need for the president of the United States to make these phone calls in the first place. Public commentary on an overseas catastrophe is inevitable; there is no way to keep such a thing truly “sacred” when it is so intimately connected to our country and how it operates. But there are ways to talk about these deaths that don’t rob them of their meaning with a never-ending he said, she said.
To date, the White House has been ever ready to attack Congresswoman Wilson, but far more reticent to talk about Niger.

And let us not leave the subject without a mention of press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' jaw-dropping response to a question about Kelly's dishonest account of Wilson's speech:

If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that’s something highly inappropriate.
Stifling dissent and questions does not make America great.

Erik Wemple got the episode — and Trump generally — just right:

It’s the autocratic mindset’s default response to accountability: intimidate.


Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 07:23:00

Errors and omissions: Little Rock mayor's race

click to enlarge LITTLE ROCK IS FOR HYPOCRITES: Mark Stodola wants part of a city ordinance enforced, just not the part he's ignoring. - ARKANSAS BUSINESS/TWITTER
  • Arkansas Business/Twitter
  • LITTLE ROCK IS FOR HYPOCRITES: Mark Stodola wants part of a city ordinance enforced, just not the part he's ignoring.

To repeat the facts after reading the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette account of yesterday of the state Ethics Commission's repeat refusal to find a state problem with exploratory committees set up by mayoral candidates Warwick Sabin and Frank Scott Jr.

Mayor Mark Stodola is a hypocrite.

A city ordinance prohibits city candidates from raising money for next year's election before June 1. So Sabin and Scott found a loophole — a state law that allows "exploratory committees" to raise money two years before an election. It's a direct affront to the intent of the people's ordinance, no doubt about that, but legal.

Stodola, through cutouts and now himself directly, is highly unhappy. He says he can't raise money yet while his opponents are doing so. So what's this then? It is Mayor Stodola's carryover campaign fund from an unopposed race in 2014. It shows he has more than $78,000 socked away for his race next year.

This from the D-G article on the matter:

Stodola said in a phone interview that "the city ordinance is very clear that the timeline applies to all campaigns, including exploratory campaigns, and both candidates continue to violate the ordinance."

He said the Ethics Commission's response is troublesome since the commission's rules clearly prevent an incumbent from forming an exploratory committee, therefore giving "a big advantage" to any challengers who can collect money that way. Stodola is prevented from collecting money until June by the city ordinance.
Do we really want to talk about clarity of the city ordinance, really, and who's violating those terms?

Sec. 2-389. - Balance of funds over expenses.

Within thirty (30) days following a general election, if there is no campaign deficit, a candidate for municipal office shall turn over any balance of campaign funds over expenses incurred as of the day of election either to:

(a) The city for the benefit of the city general fund; or (b) A nonprofit organization which is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the United State Internal Revenue Code; or (c) The contributors to the candidate's campaign; or (d) A combination of the entities listed in this subsection.
Stodola didn't do this, his own reporting shows. He contends state law overrode that city requirement. But he also seems to contend state law on exploratory committees DOES NOT override the city ordinance.

Rank hypocrisy. Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley has wisely told City Attorney Tom Carpenter HE won't prosecute anybody over this campaign fund-raising. The City Board, which pressed this issue to protect itself from exploratory committees formed by their potential opponents, would do well to drop the matter for now and seek a legislative law change that clearly lets the city impose and enforce stricter limits on fund-raising — including a prohibition of use of carryover money such as Stodola is doing.

For background, note this story I wrote back in 2010. It shows Stodola has been playing fast and loose with the carryover law since 2010 when he was sitting on a $90,000 nest egg that he refused to give to charity as the ordinance required. He didn't observe it then or in 2014 and he still doesn't. But he wants somebody to stop his opponents from running an end-run on an ordinance he's flouted for years. The Democrat-Gazette should note this every time it writes about the exploratory committees. It's inextricably linked.


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Rock Candy

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 14:02:00

Guest Playlist: Alex Flanders of KABF-FM 88.3's "GIRLS!" gives a primer in advance of tonight's benefit show

click to enlarge Alex Flanders
  • Alex Flanders

A while back, we asked Alex Flanders, host of "GIRLS!" on KABF-FM 88.3 and entrepreneur behind Crying Weasel Vintage, to put together a playlist for us, showcasing some favorite rockers from her Thursday night radio show. What we got was a 27-track certified tutorial in rock, pop and punk made by women, not to mention further proof that women are behind some of the most inventive rock and roll being made today.

Tonight, GIRLS! hosts a benefit for the community radio station at the White Water Tavern, 9 p.m., featuring sets from DOT, Squelch, and Junkbomb, as well as comedy sets from Brittany Birrer and Cortney Warner and a costume contest celebrating historic iconic women, "musicians, scientists, artists, activists, authors," or others.

We thought we'd share some crucial tracks from the GIRLS! archives ahead of the show. If you like what you hear, listen in on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. 8:30 p.m, and join the host, et al. tonight and dress up as your favorite historic woman.


Thursday, October 19, 2017 - 10:10:00

Fountain Fest sculpture reveal tonight at the Arts Center

click to enlarge fountain_fest.png

You'll have to go to the Arkansas Arts Center's Fountain Fest tonight to see how Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects' winning sketch (above) for the temporary sculpture in the Carrie Remmel Dickinson fountain in front of the building was carried out. The party, with food, drink and music, gets going at 5:30 p.m.

Fountain Fest, now in its fifth year, is a fundraiser sponsored by the Contemporaries group of young Arts Center members. Besides the ticket price of $25, proceeds from raffle tickets go to the purchase of artworks for the AAC Collection. Raffle items include a Louis Vuitton purse valued at $1,000 and a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old Bourbon.

AAC's Canvas restaurant will serve heavy hors d'oeuvres, Lost Forty Brewing and Stone's Throw Brewing are supplying the beer and Roxor Gin is making the cocktails. Guitar-vocal duo Luke Johnson and Brian Nahlen will provide the music; museum school instructors will make art and Children's Theatre actors will entertain with a shadow puppet photo booth. And, of course, there's the sculpture to enjoy.

The event runs until 8:30 p.m. Get your tickets at or by calling 396-0337.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 12:55:00

Guest Playlist: Flap Jones of "Not Necessarily Nashville" schools us on real country music

click to enlarge 22406157_1334385740004469_6162970346639191006_n.jpg

Hosting a radio show for 30 years is no joke, and hosting a good one for 30 years is an absolute triumph.

"Not Necessarily Nashville," which airs on KUAR-FM 89.1 every Saturday, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., celebrates three decades of the "best of the rest of country music" with a party Saturday, October 21 at the White Water Tavern with Brad Williams of The Salty Dogs & The Creek Rocks, and we asked host Flap Jones to curate a playlist for us ahead of that anniversary celebration. 
click to enlarge Flap Jones with Jerry Douglas of The Earls of Leicester, 2016
  • Flap Jones with Jerry Douglas of The Earls of Leicester, 2016
What’s “the best of the rest of country music” you say? It’s the stuff that’s been thrown in the backseat while this hip/hop/pop stuff they call country takes over the airwaves. The stuff that’s not about guys on a beer run in their pickup looking for hot chicks in tight blue jeans. The stuff with heart and soul that tells the truth. If you’re still confused, check out this twelve pack of tunes. They’re not all pretty and you can’t dance to all of them, but by God, they’re real.

-Flap Jones

“I’m Just An Old Chunk of Coal” – Billy Joe Shaver. Billy Joe wrote it, and you need to hear him sing it.

“Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer)”
– Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. Ok, this one you can (and probably should) dance to.

“Hello, I’m An Old Country Song” – Dale Watson. If you don’t like this one, then you don’t like country music.

“Country Music I’m Talkin’ To You” – Darrell Scott. Got nothing to add here.

“Long Gone Lonesome Blues” – Hank Williams. I pity the fool that doesn’t get Hank Williams.

“Waiting on June” – Holly Williams. Hank’s granddaughter, If this one doesn’t make you cry, you might not have a heart.

“Lonesome Cowboy” – Melissa Carper. It’s just another lonely love song. Nothing wrong with that.

“Old Devil’s Dream” – The Nashville Bluegrass Band. A little bit of bluegrass never kilt anybody!

“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” – Patty Loveless. Just more of that heart and soul stuff.

“The Rock of My Soul”
– Rodney Crowell. This song is at least 10 times better than any song of the year in the last 30 years.

“The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” – Tom T Hall. Actually, you could insert just about any Tom T song here.

“Tecumseh Valley” – Townes Van Zandt. There are boatloads of singer/songwriters out there and I’m guessing they all aspire to be like Townes.


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Toast of the Town 2017

October 19, 2017
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The best of bars, beers and booze in Central Arkansas and beyond. /more/


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What's in a name? Plenty, Mosaic Templars supporters say

October 19, 2017
What's in a name? Plenty, Mosaic Templars supporters say
Little Rock museum considering changing its name. /more/


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