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Arkansas Blog

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Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Dining Review

Right at the corner

September 21, 2017
Right at the corner
The Restaurant at the Market dishes up date-night deliciousness. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

ACANSA preview

September 21, 2017
ACANSA preview
Art you can experience. /more/

Columnists

Ernest Dumas

Bad health care bill, again

Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators. /more/

Gene Lyons

Sex on campus

Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated. /more/

Pearls About Swine

SEC hope?

September 21, 2017
There's precedent for the Hogs rebounding from a September misstep or two. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Arkansas Blog

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 16:12:00

An open line for Sunday

Here you go. More Vietnam War for me tonight.

 

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 11:26:00

City plans more spending on 30 Crossing

click to enlarge KNOTTY PROBLEM: More isn't necessarily better when it comes to freeways. - FACEBOOK POST
  • Facebook post
  • KNOTTY PROBLEM: More isn't necessarily better when it comes to freeways.

The Little Rock City Board meets Tuesday to set an agenda for the following week and among the "consent" items is a new contract for $175,000 with Nelson/Nygaard consultants to "assist with a comprehensive review" of the 30 Crossing project, otherwise known as the bigger concrete ditch the Department of Transportation wants to tear through the heart of Little Rock.

The city is on board with the project because the Chamber of Commerce is on board in the interest of helping people get home quicker to suburbs away from this rotting capital city. The consultants were paid $75,770 in 2016 for  review.

Is there any chance this consulting would produce some better ideas for this project — boulevards instead of more lanes of freeway, for example? Or maybe solid plans, with state money, for the problems on demand in other locations that will be induced by this work? Skepticism is understandable.

The communication to the board says:

The contract requirements include work sessions with ArDOT on the preparation of an interagency agreement and design approach; review and comments on the ArDOT Design Build Request for Proposal; assistance to the City on how best to support the process; and, to articulate the City’s reviews as to what the final project plans should be.
There's a high likelihood that a lawsuit challenging this project — if it proves to be as enviornmentally damaging as indicated so far — will at least delay the highway builders a bit.

 

Sunday, September 24, 2017 - 09:08:00

NFL owners rise to defense of players against Trump and false patriots

click to enlarge TAKING A KNEE: The movement spreads, here to several dozen players at the Ravens-Jaguar game.
  • TAKING A KNEE: The movement spreads, here to several dozen players at the Ravens-Jaguar game.

A significant number of pro football team owners have risen in defense of symbolic acts by players and criticized Donald Trump's remarks that they should fire any players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem, as some have done as a statement on race relations.

Here's a roundup.

Example, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross who decried divisiveness and encouraged civil discourse over condemnation and sound bites.

"These are smart young men of character who want to make our world a better place for everyone," Ross said. "They wanted to start a conversation and are making a difference in our community." 
UPDATE: 17 NFL owners have now stood with players against Trump.

Arkansas native Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, has not made a public statement since Trump's outburst in Alabama Friday night that I can find. He has said in the past that he is not a fan of such protests, but he has NOT, as some social media reports had it, ordered players to stand. He's also a million-dollar contributor to Trump's inauguration.
click to enlarge FALSE EQUIVALENTS: Sen. Trent Garner is among many attempting to make National Anthem demonstrations about racism into an assault on military service. They aren't. You could argue that assaults on free speech dishonor fallen soldiers, too.
  • FALSE EQUIVALENTS: Sen. Trent Garner is among many attempting to make National Anthem demonstrations about racism into an assault on military service. They aren't. You could argue that assaults on free speech dishonor fallen soldiers, too.
The usual suspects — demagogue Republican state Sen. Trent Garner for example — have tried to make the protests an affront to the military. Garner used a photo of coffins of fallen soldiers, as others have before, to make his point. As many of the participants have said eloquently, the protests are the embodiment of the American ideal and mean no disrespect to country or soldier. The flag is not only about troops, after all. The protests are about institutional racism, which should be anathema to what the flag stands for. See the Ken Burns' documentary on Vietnam and the racial elements in that conflict for some relevant context, by the way.

Garner's refuge in patriotism is a familiar and popular diversionary tactic. It is also ironic for the number of ways in which Garner has endeavored to reduce individual freedoms, with support for laws to punish protesters, limit women's medical rights and protect discrimination against minority groups. Great American.

This thing will get more heated before it subsides, with more demonstrations expected on football fields today. A baseball player (Bruce Maxwell, son of a veteran) has taken a knee. Stevie Wonder took a knee. Pro athletes have taken offense at being called sons of bitches and told to shut up. (Is it not the American ideal that we are equally imbued with the right to speak?)

Some conservatives get it, including Bill Kristol, who invoked the famous U.S. Supreme Court ruling by Justice Robert Jackson in 1943, during war, upholding the right of people not to take an oath. (I often have occasion in a world full of would-be oppressors to remember this opinion, as when the Razorback women baksetball players took a knee.)

Kristol quoted Jackson:

Making patriotic gestures compulsory betrays "an unflattering estimate of the appeal of our institutions to free minds."
I like this one, which Dale Bumpers also liked to quote:

“If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.”
This applies to officials who happen to be both high AND petty.

Also, the racial divide on this serves as national comment on the progress made since the 1957 school crisis.

 

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Friday, September 22, 2017 - 17:07:00

Frank Frazier at Hearne Fine Art: Tribute to the Nine

click to enlarge "Let Us Learn — The Little Rock Nine," by Frank Frazier, 2012.
  • "Let Us Learn — The Little Rock Nine," by Frank Frazier, 2012.

Hearne Fine Art, 1001 Wright Ave., is featuring on social media every week an artist from its 29th anniversary exhibition, "XXIX Prime." This week's focus is Frank Frazier, a Texas sculptor, painter and collage artist who working on a series of paintings on the civil rights movement. His work above, painted with shoe polish and ink, is part of that series, an appropriate choice as we ponder the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central and today's roadblocks to education.

 

Friday, September 22, 2017 - 09:43:00

Review: The Secret Sisters at South on Main

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
In an 1988 essay published by The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America titled "Intonation precision of choir singers," results from "two experimental investigations on the acoustics of choirs" are revealed. "The second investigation," the essay reads, "concerns the effect of spectral variations in the reference sound." Put super simply, the study investigated the way a choir's agreement on things like vowel formation impacted how often that choir sang at a desirable, unified frequency. Changes in vowel quality, it said, "and absence/presence of certain partials and of vibrato, were all found to affect somewhat the degree of fundamental frequency agreement between singers." Deviation between singers in the studied live rehearsals ranged from "0.10 and 0.15 semitones, or 0.6% and 0.9%."

The science and mystery of aligned vowels and semitones was on full display at the Secret Sisters concert last night. And the thing is, with the way those shared-DNA harmonies washed over the room last night, you'd bet the two were nearly vocally identical. As listeners will attest, though, the two voices are quite different. Lydia Rogers' is warm and smoky with a thrilling upper register. Laura Rogers' is pure, crystalline, theatrical.

The night was all wide fifths and aching minor thirds the likes of which would have made the Everly Brothers proud, paired with softshoe melodies that wielded dark bits and daggers. Laura's and Lydia's are two acoustically sympathetic voices, voices that vibrate on the same frequency, filling in the gaps between resonances over the course of big, arching phrases, their breaths occurring in startlingly precise unison. They wove through murder ballads, a scant few covers ("Make the World Go Away") and odes to an unnamed but specific ex-lover. With their sharp rhythm section (a pair of siblings as well, Cheyenne and Will Medders), the Rogers sisters seemed on a mission to prove that a recent lawsuit and dip into bankruptcy are not only in the rearview mirror (See their 2017 release's title track "You Don't Own Me Anymore"), but that the downturn emboldened them to self-realize through their music — to cement their own identities as well as their stage personas. Or are those one and the same?



 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 - 13:51:00

Matt Damon to portray LR charlatan famed for goat testicle implants

click to enlarge Brinkley
  • Brinkley
John Romulus Brinkley is one of Arkansas's greatest frauds, famed for his claim, fatal for some, that surgery to implant goat glands into testicles would restore virility. An early 20th century resident of  Vilonia (briefly, with one of his two wives), Brinkley amassed a fortune at his clinic in Texas. He moved to Little Rock after he met with competition from a cheaper quack.

Thanks to the upcoming movie "Charlatan," we might get to see Matt Damon handling goat gonads, birthmoviesdeath.com reports. The movie is based on Pope Brock's "Charlatan: America's Most Dangerous Huckster, the 
click to enlarge Damon
  • Damon
Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam," which sounds like it  could be a contemporary account of American politics. The adaptation for is being written from "Ocean's Thirteen" writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien. avclub.com says there's no director on board.

 

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Cover Story

Central High 60th anniversary

September 21, 2017
Central High 60th anniversary
A schedule of events, consideration of the past and the future, and more. /more/

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Arkansas Reporter

In backing Obamacare repeal, Arkansas governor would trade billions of dollars for more state flexibility

September 20, 2017
In backing Obamacare repeal, Arkansas governor would trade billions of dollars for more state flexibility
Hutchinson said Tuesday that the Graham-Cassidy bill "does not represent a significant cost-shift to the states." Yet several health care experts said the proposal would slash projected federal funds to Arkansas by billions of dollars. /more/
 

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