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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Ben & Jerry’s “Schweddy Balls” About to Drop

Posted by Adam Butler on September 8, 2011

into a store near you.

The flavor is made up of “vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge covered rum balls and milk chocolate malt balls.”

I’ve got to say, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is known for it’s unique, irreverant flavors, but they’ve out done themselves this time.

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Posted in News, Pop Culture | 1 Comment »

Irene No Care-a

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 26, 2011

If Jim Cantore comes to your town, you need to leave.  Living by this rule will save your life one day.

Hurricane Irene is barreling towards the U.S. eastern seaboard after ripping through Bermuda the Bahamas earlier this week.  The force of the store – currently a Category 3 – is projected to inflict billions of dollars of damage from North Carolina to Massachusetts.  The sports world is not immune to the potential damage and certain disruption.

Both the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies have altered their home series this weekend, moving Sunday games to day-night doubleheaders on Saturday.  The Giants-Jets NFL preseason game has been moved from a 7:00pm start to a 2:00pm kickoff in order to give fans more time to get home safely before the bulk of the storm hits.

The U.S. Open – the final Grand Slam tennis event of the year – also has been forced to make contingency plans as it prepares to ramp up in Flushing Meadows, New York.  The MLS and PGA have their eyes on the sky this weekend, too.

For our fans in the eastern United States – I’m as surprised as you are to learn we have fans – get your hurricane survival kit ready.  Don’t ignore the lessons from Katrina & New Orleans.  You need plenty of drinking water, flashlights/lamps with batteries and backup bulbs, ready-to-eat foods like granola bars and fruit, and a fully charged cell phone with battery backup if possible.  Also, make sure you have a portable radio with multiple batteries.  You will almost certainly lose power at some point.

As for me… I’m off to buy stock in Energizer and Duracell’s parent companies.

Posted in News, Sports | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

West Memphis Free

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 19, 2011

By now you have undoubtedly heard that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. have all been released from prison.  The three men – who were only teenagers when they were arrested and tried – were convicted in the 1993 slayings of three West Memphis, Ark. boys.  Known collectively as the West Memphis Three, Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley have long maintained their innocence.

Mara Leveritt has been one of the WM3’s biggest advocates over these past 18 years.  Today she gets to write a story for the Arkansas Times that she must have dreamed of writing every night for the better part of 2 decades.

With this agreement, Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley leave court as convicted murderers who have served an amount of time in prison that state officials accept as sufficient. However, all three preserve the right to attempt to clear their names in the future by bringing new evidence to court.

Like much of this case, today’s agreement surpasses extraordinary. This may be the first time in this country that inmates sentenced to life — much less one sentenced to death — have been removed from their prisons in shackles and handcuffs and freed within 24 hours based on a plea agreement.

It’s a remarkable story.  The West Memphis Three have maintained their innocence, saying “confessions” were coerced and fabrications.  Up until the last day of their lives behind bars, the fact that the three must plead guilty in order to obtain their freedom – an ironic situation if there ever was one – made it difficult to accept the deal.

 At the news conference, Echols embraced Jason Baldwin, who refused a deal to testify against Echols in their 1994 trial and who joined the plea deal on Echols’ behalf though he objected to being forced to plead guilty.

Prosecutors have a different perspective on today’s decision, although they do all seem to agree that justice has ultimately been served.  It is a decision that will define the careers of the prosecuting attorney Scott Ellington and Judge David Laser.  In many ways, this looks like a public relations decision for Mr. Ellington.  He and his office (and his predecessors) save their convictions.  They also avoid a potential – if not likely – acquittal if the three men received new trials.  The decision by no means indicates Mr. Ellington believes the three are innocent.

In light of these circumstances I decided to entertain plea offers that were being proposed by the defense. I NEVER considered ANY arrangement that would negate the verdicts of those two juries. Guilt or Innocence was NEVER ON THE TABLE.

Today’s proceeding allows the defendants the freedom of speech to SAY they are innocent, but the FACT is, they just plead GUILTY. I strongly believe that the interests of justice have been served today.

Like many folks today, you’re probably wondering how a person can plead guilty – to capital murder no less – only to be released hours later.  It is highly unusual, especially given these circumstances.  The deal is referred to as an Alford agreement, taking its name from a Supreme Court decision – North Carolina v. Alford.  From CNN.com:

“In a nutshell, you are pleading guilty not because you admit that you did something wrong but because you are concerned the state has enough evidence to prove you guilty,” attorney B.J. Bernstein said. “This is a common thing in tough cases, where a defendant is just adamant; I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it. They won’t confess to it, but the evidence is so strong they are going to lose.”

The day’s events, first leaked late Thursday, are nothing short of extraordinary.  For many people it’s a day to rejoice.  For others it’s a day filled with anger and frustration.  For all of us, it should certainly be a day of reflection.

May 5, 1993, three 8-year-old boys – Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers – disappeared from their West Memphis, Arkansas, neighborhood.  The next afternoon their bodies were found in the densely wooded area at Robin Hood Hills.  The fact that the boys were dead is tragic in an of itself.  The condition of the bodies, though, defies comprehension.  All three had been bound – their wrists tied to their ankles, both behind their backs – stripped, and savaged.  Christopher Byers genitals had been mutilated, although questions remain whether that action was the result of the murderer or predatory animals attacking the body postmortem.

Byers official cause of death was determined by the Arkansas State Crime Lab as blood loss.  The other two boys drowned.  The three boys’ clothing was strewn throughout the crime scene.  While evidence of sexual assault of the boys remains inconclusive, investigators recovered sperm DNA in the pants of one of the victims.

The evidence – how it was handled, examined, and interpreted – continue to create debate about the validity of the convictions of Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley.

What is lost in all today’s coverage of the release of the WM3 is that those three boys – Stevie Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers – were brutally murdered more than 18 years ago.  They would all be 26-years old by now.  Their killer or killers very likely walk the streets today.

The WM3 have become victims in this tragedy.  Whether they committed the crimes or not – I tend to think not, but I am not certain – the three were railroaded by the system.  They undoubtedly deserved new trials.  The fact that they now breathe free air is a just and fair thing, in my opinion.

Let us not, though, forget the other West Memphis Three.  Rest in peace, Stevie, Michael & Christopher.  You are the original victims, dying in a manner that no living creature should ever endure.

Posted in News | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Reality Check

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 10, 2011

It’s easy to lose perspective when we get wrapped up in sports.  I know I’m as guilty as anyone.  When the world is not a particularly fun place – like right now – it’s great to escape.

Then you get brought back to earth like a lead balloon.

The principal of a private school in Memphis, Tennessee, was found dead in a classroom Wednesday, Memphis police said.

Suzette York, 49, was lying in a pool of blood at Memphis Junior Academy, according to Sgt. Alyssa Macon-Moore, a police spokeswoman.

Hug a teacher if you know one.

Posted in News | Tagged: | Comments Off on Reality Check

Stocks Rebound

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 9, 2011

After a brutal day yesterday, stocks have inched higher on Tuesday.  Midday trading had the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 200 points.  This after a more than 600 point beating on Monday.  The panic appears to be slowing down as investors realize there are few places in the world that are safer bets that the U.S.

It’s also worth noting that S&P was the only credit ratings agency to downgrade U.S. credit.  This is the same outfit that gave junk mortgage bonds – aka mortgage backed securities – AAA rating, which is the singled biggest contributor to the economic collapse of 2008.  So how much can you trust these guys anyway?

 

Posted in News | Tagged: , , | Comments Off on Stocks Rebound

Freddy Krueger Bedtime Links

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 8, 2011

Folks in the U.K. are PISSED!  First it was London, then Birmingham (not THAT Birmingham…but would you be surprised if it was), and now we can add Liverpool to the list of English cities have that devolved into chaos.  This has got to make the IOC feel great about the 2012 Summer Olympics slated for London.

Does anyone know if they stop at 4:00 each afternoon for T.E.A.?  We need a BlogHawgs Nation correspondent in London.

If only we’d listened to Sarah…   Turns out she predicted the S&P downgrade.  I’m particularly impressed with that prediction, personally.  I had no idea she predicted the gross overvaluation of the yuan, the dangerously strong yen, the Euro Zone meltdown from Greece to Ireland to Spain to Italy – not to mention the extreme drought, abnormally violent weather patterns across the Midwest, and cataclysmic natural disasters in east Asia.  Perhaps we have underestimated her.  Or maybe she’s just full of shit.

Asian markets are about as stable as … well … U.S. markets.

Mr. President, when Dana Milbank doesn’t have your back you need to re-evaluate your strategy.

It’s not exactly fair to blame Obama for the rout: Almost certainly, the markets ignored him. And that’s the problem: The most powerful man in the world seems strangely powerless, and irresolute, as larger forces bring down the country and his presidency.

Posted in Commentary, News, Politics | 1 Comment »

Cowboy Up

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 8, 2011

Apparently God told Rick Perry to shine up his spurs and strap on his shitkickers.  According to Talking Points Memo, the Texas governor plans this Saturday to announce his candidacy for President of the United States.  Recent polling suggests Gov. Perry would immediately be considered a front-runner along side former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

Hm… A conservative Texas governor with huge political skills and a weak primary field…. What could possibly go wrong?

Posted in News, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

S&P to U.S. Treasury: “Suck it.”

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 6, 2011

At least they waited until markets closed on Friday.

The Standard & Poors agency’s bond rating arm downgraded the long-term U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ status.

“The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics,” S&P said in a statement.

The price of Tea just went up…

 

Posted in News, Politics | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

It’s Not All Bad News

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 5, 2011

Everyone held their breath yesterday after the Dow plunged in the worst sell-off of stocks since the recession began.  Global markets followed from Asia to Europe overnight, sparking concerns of another big day of losses today.  Luckily the new jobless numbers came out to stifle the negativity.   The private sector added 154,000 new workers in July, but the public sector lost 37,000 jobs according to the Labor Department.

It is definitely great news that the private sector created so many jobs.  The problem is that the number needs to double – and double quickly – if we’re going to get back to acceptable unemployment figures.  We also cannot afford to layoff public workers.  Quite simply, public sector losses slow the economy.  Small businesses need those people to have money to spend in their stores.

After yesterday’s wild ride, it is certainly nice to get some positive news.  As I mentioned earlier this week, the “budget crisis” will solve itself if we create more jobs.  Higher employment means more tax revenue and less people using government safety net programs.  More revenue and less spending…a balanced approach indeed.

Posted in News, Politics | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Heaven Help Us

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 5, 2011

I’m not sure “Heaven Help Us” is the official name of the committee, but “Constitutional scholar” Curtis Coleman – also a failed U.S. Senate candidate – has agreed to give Secretary of State Mark Martin a hand.  Tip o’ the cap to Jason Tolbert for reporting the story this morning.  As you may have noticed, Sec. Martin has had a difficult time in office thus far.  So he has engaged Mr. Coleman to help evaluate where things have gone wrong.

I’m all for seeking help, but forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical.  The key line is this one:

 (Martin spokesperson Mark) Myers stated that the committee’s mission will be “to make sure everything we do fits inside that conservative framework that we campaigned on.”

Seems like that is unnecessary.  The key rules are pretty simple: maintain the capitol grounds & ensure elections across the state are conducted legally.  There are other duties, but most are conducted by career bureaucrats and not the political staff.

Mr. Coleman and his group will not be paid, which sounds like a good thing.  The cynic in me – which admittedly is most of me – questions why someone would take on this project for free.  Especially someone with the expressed views of Mr. Coleman.

Posted in News, Politics | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Sad News From Baton Rouge

Posted by Adam Butler on August 4, 2011

Newly hired LSU offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe has resigned due to being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

The former Tulsa and Louisville head coach was hired in January to inject life into a sometimes stagnant Tigers offense.

Now, Kragthorpe apparently will have to battle to maintain his quality of life.

Hopefully early detection and treatment will help him in what will undoubtedly be a tough battle.

Posted in News, Sports | 1 Comment »

Killing Bin Laden

Posted by Brett Kincaid on August 3, 2011

If you don’t read this, you’re a bad American.

As is often the case with anything from The New Yorker, this is a long read.  It’s well worth the investment of your time.  You will no doubt be forced to stop at some point to remind yourself that this is not a Tom Clancy novel.  This is a true account of the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden.  It not only details the events of that night in Pakistan, but it also gives great color to the history leading up to the order from President Obama.

Truly a spellbinding read

If you ever encounter a SEAL, it’s probably best to say “Excuse me, sir” just in case you may have offended him.

No American was yet inside the residential part of the compound. Mark and his team were inside a downed helicopter at one corner, while James and his team were at the opposite end. The teams had barely been on target for a minute, and the mission was already veering off course.

 

Posted in Commentary, News | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Fayetteville Fails to Expand Smoking Ban

Posted by Jeff on June 8, 2011

Last night the city council in Fayetteville failed to approve an expansion of the smoking ban that would have included all 21 and over bars.  The vote was 5-3 in favor but a 2/3 majority was needed because the current ban was voted on as a ballot initiative.  I watched about half of it last night on public access.  City Chief of Staff (and former Alderman) Don Marr made some very good points toward the end of the public comment.  (Despite his employment with the city, he was allowed to comment.)  Marr was the alderman that proposed the current ban in 2003.  His argument is that this is simply a health issue.  He addressed several points individually but when he addressed the notion that the ban will be a job killer or would close down bars he made a point that i had been waiting to hear all night.

If the ban is passed (and I believe it will be when it comes to a public vote again) businesses will find a way to continue to succeed.  If you want evidence of that, drop by Jose’s, Bordinos, or Common Grounds on an average night.  The owners of these eateries were some of the most vocal against the first smoking ban.  It passed anyway and now they are flourishing.   Good businesses and good businessmen should be able to overcome this.  If you can’t smoke at ANY drinking establishment, then you’ve got no choice of one bar over another.   People are still going to drink.  It’s a college town.  People are still going to come out. 

One last thing.  A very interesting thing I might add.  The Anthony Kennedy on this case was Alderman Mark Kinion.  Kinion represents Ward 2 (which includes the entertainment district) and he spent quite a few minutes talking about how he had gone to 18 of the 22 bars that would be affected by this ban and that he got very little interest from people at those bars to vote for it.   Kinion was the unknown, swing vote and he ended up voting against it.  The intriguing thing happened during a short recess after the vote.  Kinion was speaking to someone who I believe was a member of the Tobacco-Free Coalition.  His microphone was still on during the recess and he clearly told her that he would help them with the petition to get it on the ballot.  I wonder what the bar owners will think when they hear that.  Moreover, I wonder if it is so important, why didn’t he just vote for it in the first place.

Posted in Commentary, News | 11 Comments »

NWC Report for 6/3/11

Posted by Jeff on June 3, 2011

Hey why not?

Breathe easy. It's just Shareholders week.

Hot air balloons, inflatable appliances, and a lot of product-shaped vehicles?  It must be Wal*Mart Shareholders weekend.

Fayetteville’s famous “Train Bank” aka the Dickson Street location of the Bank of Fayetteville has been robbed twice this year.  The first guy got 20 years.  The second is still at large.

Speaking of Dickson Street, it turns out a couple restaurants are relocating.  They blame the new paid parking but I’m telling you first-hand… it was hard to park close to these two BEFORE paid parking.

Wakarusa 2011 is underway on Mulberry Mountain.  Maybe I’m just old but I’ve only heard of one of these groups.  Where’s Motley Crue?

Last Shot, my friend...

When last we spoke, Judge Mary Ann Gunn was still the Drug Court czar in Fayetteville.  Well she is giving that up and while she won’t speak of it directly, there’s a good reason.  Judge Gunn might be the next Judge Judy.  But if so, it will be without her old bailiffs.

Hold on to your “I only smoke when I drink” hats, boys.  (I’m looking at you, co-founders of BlogHawgs.)  Check out the award that Maxines – of all places – won…

…But Maxines might have competition for that award next year as Fayetteville looks to expand its smoking ban to bars.  Wow.  Maybe I’ll be able to return to Brewski’s someday?  Nah.  I don’t like waiting 15 minutes to get my order.

Fayetteville held a Block Street Block Party a few weeks ago.  It was very well-received and a lot of fun.

Glad to be back!  Go Hawgs!

 

Posted in News | 4 Comments »

It’s Official. Mike Anderson Named Arkansas Basketball Coach.

Posted by Adam Butler on March 23, 2011

per the University of Arkansas.

To quote Jack Buck, the late, great St. Louis Cardinals Announcer, “Pardon me, while I stand up and applaud”.

Posted in News, Sports | 4 Comments »

Arkansas Fires Pelphrey; Who’s Next?

Posted by Adam Butler on March 13, 2011

In an expected move, Arkansas fired basketball coach John Pelphrey, today. It’s too bad. Pelphrey, by all accounts, is a good guy who worked hard. He just wasn’t getting it done.

The people’s choice to replace him is probably Mike Anderson. But, in years past, UA Athletic Director Jeff Long has been very wary of hiring folks with Arkansas ties. We’ll see soon enough if that stance has softened.

If it hasn’t, for a number of reasons ($$, recruiting class, 4 more years removed from the Nolan Richardson fiasco) Arkansas is nonetheless in a much better position to hire a new coach than when it hired Dana Altman, and then 24 hours later, Pelphrey.

The legit candidates? Only Long and a few others know for sure, but, because of each coach’s circumstances, and Arkansas’, the short list likely includes Anderson (Mizzou), Tim Floyd (UTEP, USCW, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets), Buzz Williams (Marquette) & Billy Gillispie (UK and Texas A&M).

Posted in Commentary, News, Sports | 1 Comment »

Report: Former Little Rock Christian & (Now Former) Auburn Tiger Dakota Moseley Arrested

Posted by Adam Butler on March 11, 2011

Dakota Moseley Credit: Auburn Police Division

in connection with a robbery. Per the report, three other Auburn players were also arrested and all of the arrested players have been dismissed from the team.

For those who don’t remember the unused Moseley, (he redshired this season) he is a former LRC tight end, and the close friend of fellow Little Rock Christian product and Auburn Tiger running back  Michael Dyer. Both Dyer and Moseley graduated from LRC together and signed letters of intent in 2010 to play for Auburn.

While I wished him no good will on the football field, I can’t say I wanted to see his Moseley’s  “wrands” in cuffs.

Posted in Commentary, News, Sports | 9 Comments »

Legendary Dickson Store Owner Dies In Fire

Posted by Jeff on March 7, 2011

A tragic fire took the life of the owner of Flying Possum Leather this morning.  Bruce Walker died of injuries suffered in the blaze.  Walker was a legend on Dickson and spoke out frequently about Dickson and in favor of business owners there.  He sold leather sandals, guitar straps and other goods.  His straps were patented and were coveted by players because they did not actually attach to the guitar.  Walker was 56.

Posted in News | 6 Comments »

First No Mississippi Rebel Land Shark, Now No Harry Baals Government Center?

Posted by Adam Butler on February 15, 2011

I thought twice about posting this  link, but if it’s good enough for the Associated Press, it’s good enough for me. Heck, they even went “Next Level” with the headline. The Onion is undoubtedly proud.

Posted in News | 4 Comments »

Snowpocalyzillamageddon

Posted by Jeff on February 10, 2011

At least there was no ice.

I’ve said this many times before but… this is why I don’t live in Iowa anymore.  Although in Iowa, the roads would be passable by today AND I’d get my MAIL!!  (Sorry…)

Yesterday broke two records in NWA.  Fayetteville had an official 18.5 inches of snow.  Benton County reports were 20 – 24 inches.  Last night it got to -16 F at Drake Field.   We took a few pictures.  Enjoy.

This is the snowman we built last week. It is four feet tall.

The sad path up to my Explorer. It took me 45 minutes to shovel that. Because I am so smart, I had left the Ice Melt in the vehicle.

Posted in Entertainment, News | 1 Comment »

 
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