by Max Brantley
The line is open for those not watching football. But there is news:says he doesn't support the Senate deal on taxes because it doesn't address spending. U.S. Rep. Tiny Tim Griffin of Cabot/Benton is already throwing lots of bull with the same talking point on Twitter. Bottom line seems to be that they plan to amend the Senate bill to make it unpassable in the Senate.
The deal is thus in peril, maybe dead. And so enormous tax increases could be in the offing for everyone, primarily because House Republicans simply won't allow taxes to go up on millionaires. Not without bleeding the working poor in return. Will voters buy their argument that it's all about spending, when they really mean only certain kinds of spending, not, for example, the defense dollars and special interest subsidies they love so much? Tiny Tim apparently feels comfortable about that position in his White, Lonoke and Faulkner County base. He's sounding a touch cranky about criticism. Poor baby. He's prone to tears and bemoaning the cost of public service when things don't go his way.
UPDATE: House now set to vote on deal. 'Baggers apparently short if votes to defeat. This means replay with worst consequences in two months.
And on other subjects tonight:
* LIFE IN THE SOUTH — COMING OUT: Oxford American has a new installment of its series with NPR, "Life in the South." It's a familiar but durably good topic — a profile and interview with Chad Griffin, the Arkansas native and PR whiz who's now the leader of the Human Rights Campaign, the country's top advocate for gay rights. I fault the piece for letting the bigot Jerry Cox, leader of the Family Council hate group, get away with saying so-called religious conservatives are live-and-let live about gay people in Arkansas and his only issue is when gay people want to "redefine marriage." This from a man who fought allowing gay people to adopt or foster children. From a man who favors employment discrimination against gay people as a matter of law. From a man who resisted anti-bullying legislation because it might infringe on the religious beliefs of people who think harassment and intimidation of gay people is a holy rite. Bull**** like this shouldn't be allowed with a straight face in serious journalism.
* LIFE IN THE SOUTH II: GIVING THANKS FOR MIKE BEEBE: It's not Thanksgiving, but it's occasion still to be thankful for Gov. Mike Beebe's leadership, quietly trying to implement federal health care legislation, including the no-brainer expansion of federally funded Medicaid services for more Arkansas working people, a move that will also bail out the existing program. I'm moved by an Alabama newspaper editor's doggerel, a condemnation of the Alabama governor for fighting the health care law, fighting federal mandates, fighting Medicaid expansion, fighting anything that could provide a better life for more people in his state. He has his parallel in Arkansas in the new Republican legislative majority in Arkansas. Maybe somebody here, too, will write a poem about the Medicaid Grinches. The poet, too, should work in George Wallace, massive resistance and the Southern way of life.
* THE ARTISTIC DIVIDE ON THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE: Interview here from Crave with Joe Berlinger, who made the Paradise Lost documentaries on the West Memphis Three murder case that were so critical in the eventual release of the three men convicted in the 1993 West Memphis murders. The interview delves into the prickly feelings between camps associated with the subject, particularly Berlinger's side and the Peter Jackson-financed side that has produced a new film, "West of Memphis" on the case. Berlinger is diplomatic about some friction over use of film in the new move and the nature of the work. His films, he says, are objective journalism, while the new movie is an advocacy documentary. But he says they are "strong companion pieces."
* INVESTING IN NEWSPAPERS: Interesting story on the Orange County Register's new publisher, who's investing in more reporting in hopes of lifting the sagging newspaper. Readership is up some. That's good. But advertising is the big question mark, still. Local publisher Walter Hussman is quoted.