by Max Brantley
The line is open. Closing out:
* THE 'SISTINE CHAPEL OF SEC TATTOOS': Thanks to Scott Faldon for a link to the website Outkick the Coverage, whose passions include the excesses of football fans. Featured there is an awe-inspiring Razorback tattoo. And lots of detailed snark.
* PROTEST MARCH IN JONESBORO: A Memphis group, the Commission on Religion and Racism (CORR) and the Jonesboro United Leadership Council Coalition, have announced a protest march at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, over the death of Chavis Carter in police custody. Police have said he shot himself in the back of a patrol car, despite being handcuffed, with a gun their search failed to find. A forensic examination continues, the police chief said today. Earlier this week, the police released video of a re-enactment meant to show somebody with handcuffs could pull out a gun and fire it. Additionally, Police Chief Michael Yates responded at some length to my inquiry about his record during past service as police chief in Americus, Ga The record has been the target of protesters. He acknowledged controversy with a local NAACP official, but said it was an outgrowth of local politics that involved many others, including a former black police chief. He provided one key document — a letter from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation that refutes the allegation he had illegally accessed criminal records for information about a frequent city council protestor.
* HAPPENINGS AT HARDING: What's that? A Democrat is on the bill for the annual Harding University lecture series? Well, it IS hometowner Mike Beebe, governor of the great state. He's on March 5. The Karl Rove appearance I mentioned earlier is Oct. 16. Others: Star Parker, who supports market-based policy to fight poverty, Sept. 20; Wall Street journal editorialist Stephen Moore, Feb. 7; Walmart CEO Bill Simon, April 25.
* NEWSPAPER WOES: The Little Rock-based Stephens financial empire bought the Donrey Media company right. Most analysts agree it paid off the purchase price and made plenty before newspapers started going to hell. But going to hell they are. Woes continue for the Stephens holdings in Las Vegas, where they own what once was one of the biggest moneymakers in American newspapers. But then the real estate bubble burst and newspaper advertising tanked. Something had to give. The latest is loss of more high-ranking newsroom jobs.
* ADD ONE ENDORSEMENT: The AFL-CIO said it omitted one endorsed candidate from the list it released yesterday — William "Zac" White of Heber Springs for the District 18 Senate seat. He's a Democrat.
*SHOOTING AT FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: A man wounded a security guard today at the Family Research Council headquarters in Washington. Early reports say the man, who is in custody, expressed unhappiness with the organization's anti-gay philosophy in a confrontation with the guard. He also was reported to be carrying a Chick-fil-A bag. Every liberal and human rights organization I can find has condemned the act. Fox News is in full political mode, with commentary blaming it on the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been harshly critical of the Research Council. Two observations: 1) It's perfectly understandable that reporters want to seek out and report the motives behind an act of violence and conditions and laws that might make such acts easy to carry out. 2) I only wish the right-wing will remember this the next time an act of violence comes from their direction and they are inclined to yet again issue the boilerplate tut-tut that it's "too soon" to consider political motivations in tragedies.