As my regular readers know, I'm something of a nature nerd. Last weekend, for example, I took a walk (wade) along Fletcher Creek and met a giant cottonmouth that decided to swim up and join me on the flat rock where I was fishing. I moved along smartly. But I did see a number of cool birds, including a pair of yellow-crowned night herons, who whistled at my approach and flew off downstream.
These interesting birds also live unobtrusively in Midtown. To learn more about the habits of these local denizens of the air, check out "The Amorous Adventures of Yellow-crowned Night Herons in Midtown Memphis," a presentation by the Wolf River Conservancy at the Botanic Gardens Monday night.
An announcement has just come down from circuit court in Jonesboro, Arkansas, regarding an unexpected hearing in the West Memphis Three case Friday morning.
Here is the announcement:
The court will take up certain matters pertaining to the cases of defendants Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley on Friday, August 19. One session will be conducted out of public presence with all defendants present and another session will be conducted in open court. The session conducted in chambers will likely begin at 10 a.m. followed by a public session which will begin about 11 a.m. Space will be limited for the public session — first to the parties, counsel and court personnel, then to family members of the victims and family members of defendants with remaining seating to be occupied by media representatives and the public. There will be approximately 15 minutes between the chamber session and open session for media and public to be seated. Miss Stephanie Harris, Arkansas Supreme Court communication counsel, will be present on Friday to assist with implementation and will be the court's intermediary with public and press.
A Memphis defense attorney told me off the record that this hearing is expected to be "momentous." Max Brantley of the Arkansas Times has more on the story.
UPDATE: Numerous sources are now citing an Arkansas Department of Corrections spokesperson as saying the three convicted inmates in this case left the maximum security unit "with all their possessions."
WREG is reporting two of the three will be released tomorrow. Their source is reportedly the father of one of the victims. WMC is reporting all three convicted men are in custody of Craighead County deputies.
There is a lot of single-sourced reporting happening and a LOT of speculation on Twitter. My advice would be to wait and see what develops tomorrow.
The best local source for developments in my book is the Arkansas Times.
Also worth a look, if you're willing to pop for $15, is Mara Leveritt's site. Leveritt has covered the case since its beginnings and has written the definitive book on the subject.
UPDATE: The Flyer's Bianca Phillips is in Jonesboro this morning (Friday) and will be filing reports -- and tweeting (@biancaphillips
Michele Bachmann sure is making it easy for snark-blogging. Yesterday, it was all about her giving a corndog beej for the cameras; today she's messing up her Elvis history.
From CNN's Politicalticker Blog : "Before we get started, let's all say 'Happy Birthday' to Elvis Presley today," Bachmann greeted event attendees at a "Join Team Bachmann" rally in Spartanburg, SC.
"We played you a little bit of Promise Land when we pulled up. You can't do better than Elvis Presley and we thought we would celebrate his birthday as we get started celebrating taking our country back to work."
Elvis, of course, died on this date.
Way back in 1988, the handlers for Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, had what they thought was a great idea. Their candidate needed to counter George H.W. Bush's foreign policy experience. Dukakis was a governor, a Massachusetts governor, for heaven's sake. He needed to look manly, presidential. And what's more manly and presidential than riding in a tank? Well, just about anything, it turned out. The photo backfired, bigtime. I mean, look at this doofus.
There's a long history of presidential campaign photo follies. John Kerry wind-surfing. For that matter, John Kerry goose-hunting. John McCain awkwardly hugging George Bush. Bill Clinton in those tiny jogging shorts. Nixon walking the beach in suit and wingtips. And there's the famous Mitt Romney "fudge packing" photo:
But perhaps never in the history of bad presidential campaign photo ops has there been a worse idea than this one — Michele Bachmann sampling a corndog at the Iowa State Fair. Oy.
That band I like, MGMT, headlined the U.S. Surf Open in Huntington Beach, California, on Saturday. When they came out for their encore, guitarist James Richardson suggested that those in the crowd should throw their left shoe. He got a little more than he bargained for ...
As Congress and the president diddled their way into creating a "satan sandwich" deal to raise the debt ceiling, several other ceilings are being breached, including this one: the number of Americans on food assistance from the federal government. There are now 45.8 million Americans getting food stamp assistance. That's about one in seven Americans who need public assistance in order to pay for their food.
In Tennessee, 1,276,000 people get food stamps. Unemployment is higher than 10 percent throughout the state. The economy is in the crapper, pure and simple.
And what do we hear from the right-wing? Proposals (which have passed into law in Florida and Missouri) to drug-test anyone receiving public assistance. Proposals to strip public unions of their bargaining power. Proposals to make voting more difficult for poor people via voter photo ID laws. Proposals to weaken public schools and fund private charter schools with taxpayer money. Proposals to weaken environmental and consumer protection agencies. Proposals to cut Medicare and Social Security, two of the vital safety nets for the average American.
The middle and working class in this country are under assault. Period. The corporations have the courts and legislative bodies under control. It IS a Satan sandwich. The deal is simple: if the legislators pass laws that favor unbridled profit, including the right to move operations overseas to cheaper labor markets, the corporations assure their reelection with campaign contributions. It sounds simplistic, because it is simple.
The Republicans no longer have a soul. The Democrats no longer have a spine. The president no longer has a clue.
We are screwed. Hold on tight. It's going to be a bumpy ride for the next few years.