Arkansas

Tony Blankley: Colourful adviser to Newt Gingrich

Unless you're the White House spokesman, opining daily on matters of war and peace, a press secretary normally doesn't become a public figure in a button-downed place like Washington, drenched in political correctness. The exception was Tony Blankley. For seven momentous years in the 1990s he was spokesman for Newt Gingrich, as the Georgia Congressman led the "Republican Revolution" that in 1994 gave the party control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. The turbulent and swaggering Speaker-to-be and his somewhat rotund, heavy-smoking aide with a British accent, a gift for soundbites and an unashamed taste for the good things of life, were made for each other.

Cajun country to be Mississippi flood scarifice

Army engineers will open a key spillway along the bulging Mississippi River as early as today, deluging thousands of homes and farms in Louisiana's Cajun country in order to avert a potentially bigger disaster in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

Police kill coffee shop massacre suspect

Police today shot and killed a man suspected of gunning down four police officers, a sheriff's spokesman said, a day after the man eluded police who had spent hours trying to coax him out of a house.

Album: Bill Frisell, Disfarmer (Nonesuch)

Even Damon Albarn and Jack White have some distance to go to equal the genre-bending achievements of Bill Frisell, not just the outstanding jazz guitarist of his era but also the most diversely prolific, equally at home providing accompaniment to Buster Keaton movies as he is collaborating with Elvis Costello.

Shotgun Stories (12A)

This spare, meditative drama examines the slow-acting poison of revenge on two sets of half-brothers. Michael Shannon plays Son Hayes, who bears the physical and emotional scars of protecting his two younger brothers – Kid and Boy – after their drunk father left them years ago to be raised by a "hateful woman". Now the father is dead, and when Son turns up at his funeral to deliver a less than obliging epitaph to his second family, a tragedy of retribution is set in train.

Arkansas: Hot springs eternal

In the summer of 1992, Simon Calder visited the state of Arkansas, where the Governor was preparing to stand for president. He found a sleepy backwater with charm to spare

US Bible Belt begins clear-up after the worst tornadoes in 20 years

Dazed survivors of the worst tornadoes to hit the American Bible Belt in more than two decades surveyed the wreckage of their flattened homes yesterday, as state and federal clean-up crews herded them into temporary shelters and started to tackle downed power lines, severed gas pipes, fallen trees and debris as far as the eye could see.

Picture Post: Storm force: tornadoes in the Deep South

The polls were just closing in America's Super Tuesday primary contests when the apocalypse came – not a political apocalypse but a swirl of tornadoes that ripped across the voting states of Tennessee and Arkansas, killing at least 48 people and injuring hundreds of others. Roofs flew off buildings like lids off jam jars. Cars and trucks were tossed across roads. Mobile homes crumpled, and even solidly built houses collapsed, leaving nothing but their concrete foundations standing. Phone and power lines blew down. Trees snapped.