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Smart Talk, March 13

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Market plans

Grady farmer and locavore impresario Jody Hardin's plans for an all-Arkansas farmer's market in Argenta now have a date attached: The Certified Arkansas Farmer's Market is scheduled to open May 3 in a parking lot in downtown North Little Rock, next to the post office on Main Street between Fourth and Fifth streets. It'll be the first state-wide Arkansas-only market, Hardin said, and only food products will be sold there. The market will be open from 7 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Saturdays through Oct. 31.

The outdoor market is the first phase of Hardin's plans to open a large warehouse and store for local food on the site of the Prime Quality Feed Mill in Argenta. The second phase will open June 3 in a retail space in the new Argenta Place building on Main Street, next to Cregeen's pub. The Argenta Market, a small grocery featuring fresh breads and fresh local meat, will carry primarily Arkansas products and will be open six days a week.

Arkansas: Unwired

According to the latest issue of Wired magazine, Arkansas is one of only nine states in the country without any citywide Wi-Fi projects in development, in operation or even under formal consideration. By and large, the municipalities with working networks are smaller, lower profile cities, like Southaven, Miss., and Washington, La.

Philadelphia, the sixth-largest U.S. city, is the largest urban area with Wi-Fi, with wireless Internet signals for computer users covering 100 square miles. The Arkansas Municipal League's Andrew Morgan said he didn't know of any citywide projects, but pointed to Conway as an example of a city working toward a network for their downtown. Last fall, a free wireless network went online in a portion of the River Market district in Little Rock and talks continue on expanding that project in more of downtown.

Enough already

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee stayed true to his word to remain in the presidential race until John McCain earned the requisite delegates for nomination. That happened last week, when McCain swept the Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island primaries. Huckabee, speaking from a hotel in Texas, took 14 minutes of national TV air time for his concession speech. He invoked baseball star George Brett, the Apostle Paul, the Book of Isaiah and William Travis' letter to Alamo defenders. “Weird” and “bizarre” were among the terms used by commentators.

Wrote Josh Marshall, the prize-winning leader of the news and opinion blog Talking Points Memo, “Can someone get Huckabee off the stage and end the most painfully embarrassing concession I think I've ever heard? I mean, put him out of my misery. Huckabee seems to have forgotten that this isn't the end of a grand, hard-fought race. It was a farce that everyone indulged because Huckabee's sort of a feel-good wingnut and had a good sense of humor. When he started on to ‘Victory or Death' riff at the end I thought he might be about to end with a stunning crescendo of a ritual suicide. But apparently it was Victory or Death (or windy concession speech), the lesser known original version of the line.”

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart also made fun of Huckabee's speech.

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