Blanche Who? Let’s Talk TV on This Weekend’s ‘Sunday Edition’ on 103.7 The Buzz

Clarke Peters, Treme on HBO

Clarke Peters surveys the damage during the first episode of HBO's "Treme."

We’re happy to be back on Blake Rutherford‘s “Arkansas Sunday Edition” radio program beginning at 7 a.m. this Sunday on 103.7 The Buzz. This week, we’re talking TV. Specifically, HBO‘s new drama “Treme,” about life in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The show is from David Simon, the creator of another HBO series, “The Wire,” which many think is the greatest TV series ever. Simon is on my list of dream speakers for the Clinton School of Public Service, possessing a unique vantage point on media, crime, law enforcement, government, the education system — pretty much every major institution of American life.

“The Wire” — his epic, scathing treatise on those flawed institutions — now behind him, Simon’s turned his eye on New Orleans for a look how cultures endure in times of crisis. Critics have said “Treme” might also be the essential drama of the so-called Great Recession, with Katrina as a metaphor for the financial crisis. Whatever Simon’s driving at (episode 4 premieres Sunday night), there’s no doubt that post-Katrina New Orleans, with its devastation, singular music, shell-shocked residents and failed bureaucracies, is a rich canvas for any number of themes, cultural, economic and otherwise.

I could keep writing, but I’ll stop here. If you want to here us geek out on some really good TV, tune in this Sunday.

Also Editor Jim Harris will also be on this Sunday’s show.


The End of ‘The Wire’

Does David Simon’s Sun Vendetta Deaden ‘The Wire’?

More David Simon from this blog

The Latest on Lincoln v. Halter, Tonight on ‘Arkansas Week’

Arkansas' news week-in-review

We’re back at the big table this week, talking about the Week That Was in Arkansas News.

Appearing alongside host Steve Barnes on AETN‘s “Arkansas Week” at 8 p.m. tonight: myself, Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times and Kelly MacNeil of KUAR-FM, 89.1.

On the docket, the latest Blanche Lincoln vs. Bill Halter news (maybe those two latest poll numbers will come up?), a look at the Republican race for the nomination for U.S. Senate (will a certain campaign gimmick be mentioned?), Secure Arkansas’ lawsuit to stop health care reform, Wal-Mart’s big lawsuit problem and more.

Tune in to your local AETN affiliate to watch tonight. Or look for the video link right here when it becomes available.

Heart & Soul: Lincoln, Halter Guest on ‘Talk of the Nation’ to Talk Democratic Party Identity

Re: This storyline from the U.S. Senate campaign in Arkansas between incumbent Blanche Lincoln and challenger Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, both candidates are said to be guests on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” program today at 1 p.m. local time. That’s 89.1, KUAR, on your local terrestrial radio dial.

Here’s the pitch:

We’ve spent plenty of time this year talking about the divisions in the Republican Party, mostly about the rise of the Tea Party, and also focusing on the various primaries where the ideological differences are most pronounced, such as Florida, Texas and Arizona.

But there are divisions in the Democratic Party as well, and we saw that during the negotiations over health care.  Perhaps the biggest stage where two wings of the party are trying to define what exactly is a Democrat is Arkansas, where centrist Sen. Blanche Lincoln faces a spirited primary challenge from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, backed by many progressive groups.  The primary is May 18.

Both Lincoln and Halter are our special guests today during the Political Junkie segment on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

(Noted: No D.C. Morrison!)

It’s unclear whether Lincoln and Halter will appear together. That’d be too much fun to realistically hope for!

Update: Show’s over! Halter and Lincoln appeared separately with hosts Ken Rudin and Neal Conan and rehashed a lot of what we heard during last weekend’s Democratic debates, including lamenting the negative tone of the campaign. Both candidates took calls from Arkansas listeners, including two from Hot Springs and a Lincoln supporter in Fayetteville.

After the jump, a tedious recap of an equally tedious hour of radio!

Continue reading

Making Online News Work in Small-town Arkansas

It’s happening. Someone people are doing it. We’ve noted the Fayetteville Flyer, Ozarks Unbound, the CityWire and others. And this week, Arkansas Business media writer Sam Eifling checks in with two other online-only news sites: the and,

which has received 1.7 million page views during the past year. Its growth tickles Joe Burgess, who has owned and run the site since October 2007.

After three years on, Burgess is convinced his style of coverage is sustainable, and here to remain as a competitor to the local paper (the Advance Monticellonian, in this case). “Convenience stores, instant coffee and faster information,” he says. “It’s all the same concept.

Right now, they’re small operations. But they’ve got the right idea: covering intensely local news intensely, offering readers news they can’t find anywhere else, even in the competing print paper.

Also teams with and to present a day of debates by candidates in local elections.

Take That, Gilbert Baker’s Blue TARP Tarp: Jim Holt’s ‘Obamacare’ Repeal Unit

Jim Holt's 'Obamacare Repeal Unit'

'Barackcracy.' Heh. (Via

So this is what happens when there’s eight candidates in party primary. You’ve gotta get attention somehow. How about painting up an ambulance with caricatures of the president, a possible opponent and the Democratic leadership and driving it around the state? And get one of the Duggars involved!

From the Jim Holt for U.S. Senate campaign:

Senator Holt, speaking to media in front of the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock today, presented a very unique symbol that he has dubbed, “America’s Ambulance.” Holt introduced the Ford F450 ambulance that several Holt volunteers have modified to read “ObamaCare Repeal Unit” in bold print on the face along with phrases like “Stop The Barackracy” and “The Cure for Obama’s Hope & Change.” In addition, America’s Ambulance touts a caricature of President Obama with a [Socialist] Russian hammer & sickle insignia affixed to his lapel while the other side displays a cartoon sketch of Sen. Lincoln posing alongside Sen. Harry Reid & Rep. Nancy Pelosi next to the words “Revive America: Vote Jim Holt for U.S. Senate.”

Where’d the truck come from? Champion Motorcars, owned by Josh Duggar of TLC’s “19 Kids & Counting.” This is really happening!

Obviously, Holt scores here for totally one-upping that ragged blue tarp one of his opponents for the Republican nomination, State Sen. Gilbert Baker, is always dragging around. (Although Baker’s forthcoming “no bailouts” bus tour is noted.)

In terms of the overall race for nomination — well, it can’t hurt. If you were to play a drinking game based on the number of times you read Holt’s name in any recent Republican U.S. Senate debate coverage, you’d be stone sober and able to drive home safely — in this very ambulance! It’s hard to break away from the pack when the “establishment” candidate, U.S. Rep. John Boozman, has all the money and attention, even when forced to tussle with Baker over bailouts and earmarks.

Update: This ambulance idea might not be entirely a good one, legally speaking.


Here’s the time we met Jim Holt. Video and more.

Jason Tolbert has video of today’s ambulance event

Baker goes on tour: “No Bailout” bus tour all this week.

Arkansas Bankers Association CEO on Community Banks and Financial Reform

Ken Hammonds, CEO of the Arkansas Bankers Association, writes in Arkansas Business this week on financial reform making its way through Congress. Reform is needed, Hammonds says, and some proposals on the table are on target. But others go too far or not far enough, he says.

The biggest problem, however, is that traditional, community banks stand to be over-regulated:

Traditional banks didn’t bring about the financial crisis. Their mission is, as it has always been, to serve their local communities and make credit available to consumers and small businesses. The bill before the Senate unfortunately contains provisions that would hinder their ability to do this effectively and to provide the credit the local economy so badly needs to get back on track.

The full article is available here.

Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s financial reform package moves forward. Dodd has tentatively agreed to include Arkansas U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s provisions on derivatives — which the Democrat touted during two weekend debates in Little Rock — in his legislation.


Entrepreneurship educator Jeff Amerine of Innovate Arkansas thinks financial reform could be a “start-up killer.”

Blake Rutherford cites an ABC News poll showing public support for reform.

Politico On Lincoln, Halter and What It Means to be an Arkansas Democrat

In my quick analysis on Today’s THV about Friday night’s Democratic U.S. Senate debate, I noted one of the dominant themes of the evening was what it meant to be a Democrat. It’s a banner all three candidates — Blanche Lincoln, Bill Halter and D.C. Morrison — hold high, but each is of varying shades of blue.

Politico’s David Cantanese, one of Friday night’s four debate inquisitors, says today that the entire race hinges on this definition, with Arkansas Democratic primary voters faced with a choice between Lincoln’s “traditional Arkansas Democratic establishment — socially conservative, business-friendly, pragmatic and loyal” and Halter’s “progressive movement — pro-labor, anxious for change and eager for bolder strokes.”

Morrison’s brand of Democrat — conservative to a shade of purple and ready to dismantle the Fed and install the “fair tax” — is left unmentioned in Cantanese’s assessment, but I’d wager that for those few Democrats inclined to the Tea Party, it’s viable option. He’s certainly the race’s bona fide outsider in this year of anti-incumbent sentiment.

Of course, Cantanese also identifies another factor in the race beside lofty ideology — ambition. There’s some choice comments from Arkansas Chamber of Commerce President Randy Zook — a Lincoln supporter — on that subject. They will surprise no one from Arkansas.

Cantanese’s full article here.


John Brummett notes the same Politico piece here with thoughts on Lincoln’s self-proclaimed liberalism.