Friday, September 26, 2014

Thank you, John Marek; your work is paying off

Most of you know John Marek as the man who rebuilt the College Democrats at the U of M and as the Campaign Manager for Congressman Steve Cohen in 2012 and this year.

Marek, a local attorney, is also on the new citizens law enforcement review board, and has made it his mission to require body cameras for local police officers to wear while on duty.  He has pointed out that not only will it help defendants, it can also protect local officers who may have unjustly been accused of malfeasance.

Today, we learned in the CA that Marek's work has apparently convinced Mayor Wharton (Link here) to ask the consultant working for the city on obtaining dashcams for police cars to inquire about bodycams for officers.  This is great news and would not have happened without Marek's tireless efforts, and I want to salute him.

He is temporarily on a job in Colorado, but when he comes home in November, congratulate him and buy him a beer for his efforts, I know I will.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


All I'm going to say on some rumors I've heard floating around is two things.

1.  It doesn't matter who your mommy and daddy are, YOU have to earn the voters trust, there may be some benefit of the doubt, but if you have ZERO track record other than working for them.  GTFO and do something to show why you deserve to serve.

2. Learn from Drake, start at the bottom.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

This is one of the FUNNIEST and DUMBEST things I have seen recently

Because, the TNGOP says Gordon Ball is a LIBERAL who will vote for OBAMA!!!!!


Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, what person with a fighting chance at a triple-digit IQ would believe this nonsense?

  Ball, of course, was ready with a response, about which I will comment afterwards:
"Sen. Lamar Alexander has voted with President Barack Obama 62 percent of the time.  I have voted with him 0 percent of the time."U.S. Senate Candidate Gordon Ball said after learning that the TNGOP had launched a website and video attacking him as 'another vote for Obama.' "I have said consistently that Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell and Lamar Alexander should be replaced.  If we want to change Washington, we have to change the people in Washington.
"The bottom line is that in the primary I was painted as far right and now in the general, the partisan attack is that I'm a liberal," Ball said. "It's apparent I fall in the middle in the same mold as Ned Ray McWherter and Phil Bredesen."

"As the Knoxville News Sentinel's Tom Humphrey wrote on his website, they are concerned enough about our campaign to take the time, energy and money to come after me," Ball added. "I find it to be encouraging and energizing as we reach out to Tennesseans who are tired of career politicians like Alexander. We must be doing something right." The facts speak for themselves, Ball has sued health insurance companies over their refusal to compete with each other which causes health care costs to be higher.  Ball is a gun owner and pro second amendment. He has said across the state that everyone is pro-life, but that voting no on Amendment 1 allows women to make their health decisions."Women's healthcare should not be dictated by the government and elected officials," Ball said.  Alexander will vote to allow the Tennessee legislature to make those decisions for women. 
Ball, who has been campaigning this past week in Memphis and upper east Tennessee will be in Nashville this week for the Tennesseans Against Common Core rally as well as hosting a breakfast for the executive committee that represents the Tennessee Democratic Party across the state.

I support Ball because he is not a panderer, as the once-moderate Alexander has become to the Tea Partiers.  I also, as I noted earlier this year, do NOT want to see the Senator Bill Haslam, Governor Ron Ramsey scenario take place.

I DO wish, however, that he would work on his messaging.  One reason that Democrats have problems with their messaging throughout the South is that they run away from who they really are.  I REALLY WANT Democrats to be everything that the GOP says we are, because we are correct in how we view this country and what it should stand for, and they haven't had a clue what America is supposed to stand for since Ike left office.

Embrace the right-wingers' hatred and turn it against them.  Ask people in rural areas how voting for the GOP has worked for THEM.  Make them take RESPONSIBILITY for their votes and see if they don't realize that they have made poor choices.  Then, if they can't figure it out, they DESERVE whatever comes to them.

The problem is, of course, that they will take people like you and I down with them if too many of them fail to realize what the GOP has done.   That doesn't mean we should not try.  Ladies and Gentlemen, it's not 1992 any more and what worked then will not work now.  We need to stand up, be loud and be proud that we stand for the good things in life and not for selfishness, for common working people and not for Wall Street and union-busters.  We need to be who WE ARE, DEMOCRATS.

Enough said.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Out of three great choices, one emerges

Not the one I voted for, mind you, but one I can live with easily.

I am referring, of course, to last nights #SCDPSenate30SmackDown, in which Beverly Marrero, Carol Chumney and Sara Kyle were to face off for the SCDP nomination to replace former Senator and now Chancellor Jim Kyle.  And, yes, for you newbies who may have stumbled here, Jim Kyle is the husband of Sara Kyle.

After three solid speeches by the candidates, including a barnburner by Chumney, capped off by her withdrawal in favor of Marrero, the vote was taken.  This blog provided two proud votes for Beverly Marrero; however, Sara Kyle received the nomination on an 18-16 vote.

As Carol reminded us in her speech (which we will talk about a little later in the post), there were NO bad choices here: Jon and I just believed Beverly was the best choice, having had actual experience in the State Senate.

However, as we know, Sara Kyle is a 20 year veteran of state government with her years on the Public Service Commission and Tennessee Regulatory Authority until she was unceremoniously dumped by the Governor.  She is no slouch, and I can and WILL support her against Dr. George "Al Kapone Supports Me So I Can Carry North Memphis" Flinn in the November election.

It's easy to forget, as Sara has been out of the limelight, that she was raised in a campaigning family, with one uncle (Frank Clement) having served as Governor, one aunt serving in the State Senate (Anna Belle Clement O'Brien, during whose service Sara was introduced to Jim Kyle), as well as  campaigns on her own.  In fact, I would like to talk about that for a minute.

It is my hope that, upon her election (which I believe is not only possible but highly probable) to a Senate where she may have as few as four Democratic colleagues, that she does not become frustrated to the point where she leaves office in two years.  If that were to happen, then I believe last night's vote would be seen as a waste of time.

The truth is that Sara Kyle CAN and SHOULD be a dynamic force, not only here but statewide.  This is really needed at a time when the TNDP appears to be lost and not fully aware of its 'staggering lack of influence.  If she leaves office in two years, I hope that it will be for a bigger office, because she has the gravitas to lead a comeback for this party.  There's a REASON a groundswell took place last year for a possible Governor's run this year; while it didn't happen for various and sundry reasons, one hopes that something like this would be possible for her in the future.

Last night should be a new beginning for the Party, and for Sara Kyle.

Now, to Carol Chumney.   It is no secret that she wants to make another run for mayor of Memphis, and last night's speech about the power of women, despite the apparent refusal of Shelby Countians and Memphians to elect one to an executive office, highlighted that desire.

Whether it's AC Wharton or Jim Strickland carrying the water for the business community, no doubt Carol will be facing an uphill battle, unless she can unite the pro-labor and anti-corporate forces that want to see a change on North Main Street.   Considering that there could be SEVERAL candidates in that race, including Rev. Kenneth Whalum (always a bet to pull a sizable share of the vote), City Councilor Harold Collins (can he get votes outside his Whitehaven base?) and MPA leader Mike Williams (who is making a HUGE mistake if he runs, he will get no traction), it appears to me that all of the candidates who want to challenge the pro-business and pro-corporate forces need to meet and agree on a consensus candidate that may NOT be themselves.

I think of 1999, when all of Mayor Herenton's opponents could not unite, and 2007, when Herman Morris got in and split the anti-Herenton vote and kept Carol from being elected Mayor, and see that it could happen yet again if the anti-administration candidates are numerous.

In short, people, we need a backroom meeting.  (GASP!  QUEL HORREUR! MON DIEU! , Queue the fainting spells!)

I believe there should be a poll commissioned (preferably one done either by the CA or one by all the candidates together) to get an idea of who has the best chance to win.  The question that each candidate needs to ask themselves is this: IS THIS ABOUT ME OR IS IT ABOUT MEMPHIS AND ITS DIRECTION?  Are you willing to get out and support someone who has a better chance of winning, or are you going to stay in, split the vote and have four more years of Status Quo?

I hope that by January, things will be more settled in this regard.  Your thoughts, readers?

Monday, August 25, 2014

I am supporting Gordon Ball in the fall Senate race

I do have my concerns, which was a reason I supported Terry Adams in the primary.  The Ball campaign understands this,  but I believe Lamar Alexander has to be stopped now, because he is no longer the quasi-moderate that people make him out to be.  He sucked up to the Tea Partiers to offset Joe Carr, who pulled a stunning 41% in the GOP Primary against Alexander, who barely got 50 of the vote.

I also believe that to vote for Lamar Alexander is to vote for Ron Ramsey as Governor.  As I said earlier this year, I do not believe in any way that Alexander serves out a full term.  He is 74 years old and if he wins and serves out the term, he will be over 80.  If any of you thinks he will serve out the term, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you.

I fully believe that if we make the mistake of re-electing LAMAR! to another term, in about 24-48 months, he will suddenly announce that he has "health problems" and will be unable to finish his term.  And, faster than you can say boo, Governor Bill Haslam will resign, and be appointed to the seat by the new Governor, Ron Ramsey.

Any of you reading this post think that is a good idea?   I didn't think so.

So, whatever misgivings I had in the primary about Gordon Ball are out the window now.  It's time to save the state, and we can only do so by supporting Ball for the US Senate seat, which I will do, happily.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Post-election observations - 9th District

We still need to see precinct breakdowns, of course, but there are a few things I want to say about this race, and how we view our Congressman.

First, to Ricky Wilkins:  For someone who has never campaigned for office for himself before, you did a damned fine job.  Your campaign clearly was the toughest one that Steve Cohen has faced since he was initially elected in 2006.  Sure, there were mistakes, but for a rookie campaign, you have nothing to be ashamed of, and Cohen himself saluted your efforts during his victory speech, something I don't remember him doing before.

However, even with all of that, you just got a third of the vote.  What does that mean?  It means that, for all of the campaigning you did, two-thirds of the Democratic electorate of the 9th Congressional District is satisfied with the representation that they have received from the incumbent.

Unless the Tea Party is involved in a GOP District, it's damn near impossible to unseat an incumbent Congressman unless that person has been indicted or committed some kind of epic faux pas.  That is to say that, as things stand today, only Steve Cohen can really beat Steve Cohen.

Unless he does something really over the top, Steve Cohen is going to continue to be renominated and re-elected to this seat.  That is something you may want to think about.

To your credit, Mr. Wilkins, you did everything possible to avoid the suggestion that you were running because the 9th District needed a Black Congressman to serve a primarily-Black District.  Some of your supporters, sadly, didn't get the message, and it is they whom I will address next.

I will make this short and sweet: You are no more entitled to a Black Congressman than I am a white Congressman.  Any suggestion to the contrary is as racist as anything the Klan has ever said.  It, and always SHOULD be, about POLICY and CONSTITUENT SERVICE.  I loved Harold Ford Senior and defended him to other people for years.  His son?  Not so much, Junior threw his constituents under the bus with the Bankruptcy Bill in order to raise money for his Senate run.  (I will be angry at him for that as long as I draw a breath.)  Do they do their job?  If the answer is YES, keep them.  NO, get rid of them.

If you are angry that the 9th District does not have a Black Congressman, why don't you go and ask the Black Democrats of the district, the majority of whom voted resoundingly to re-nominate Steve Cohen?  All of the petty insider bullshit that we argue about doesn't matter a damn to them, they just want to know that he is there for them, and he has been.  THAT, more than any other reason, is why he wins.

That is something beyond the control of Mr. Wilkins or any of Cohen's prior opponents, and it's why he wins every time, and will continue to do so as long as he keeps doing what he is doing.

Now, to my friend of over 30 years and my Congressman, I want to talk to you as well.  First, good work by you, John Marek, Stephanie Dunavant, Rick Maynard, Dabney Ring and the rest of your team.   You need to go get some rest for a week or so, we all know this was a tough race.

When you get back, lots of us need to sit down with you and talk about the state of the Shelby County Democratic Party.  No, you are not the "boss", and I agree that is not what you or the SCDP needs.  As the highest-ranking Democratic elected official in this County, we need your guidance and your input to help us turn this thing around, which won't happen overnight.  You also need to bring some of that talented staff with you, as they have learned greatly from your tutelage.

This needs to be a table where all feel welcome, regardless of whether they are from South Memphis or Southwind, Brunswick or Smokey City.  Only with a dialogue from all parties can we begin to heal and point forward toward future victories.

Our Chairman Apologizes


During a WREG-TV interview the next day after the August 7th election, I made regrettable comments to the reporter. I said, “I wish those Democrats would go ahead and just sign up and be Republicans. Go ahead and join the party because we don’t need you. You don’t support us.” 

After giving much thought to my comments, I realized  that it was not wise to express those “at the moment” feelings and I apologize.

On many occasions I have been very proud to state that the Democratic Party is a big tent Party that welcomes everyone regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. That boast should also include having an open mind to those Democrats who don’t necessarily agree with all of the Democratic candidates on the ballot during an election. I do apologize.

Bryan Carson, Chairman
Shelby County Democratic Party

Bryan Carson, Chairman
Shelby County Democratic Party

Below is the WREG-TV Stephanie Scurlock interview:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County is considered Tennessee’s bluest county, yet Republicans pulled off some big election wins Thursday.

Six of the seven major county offices were won by the GOP, so WREG asked the head of the Shelby County Democratic Party what they plan to do next.

Bryan Carson is drawing a line in the sand. He’s got a message for those who call themselves Democrats and voted for Republican candidates running for Shelby County offices.

“I wish those Democrats would go ahead and just sign up and be Republicans. Go ahead and join the party because we don’t need you. You don’t support us,” said Carson.

Carson says he’s hurt by the outcome of this election. About 20 percent of the Democrats who voted cast ballots for Republicans running for county office.

“The Republicans would never do that to us. They would never do that for us,” said Carson.

He says the Democrats’ next move is to amp up its get out the vote campaign and bring in those registered voters who aren’t voting regularly.

Carson said, “We need to let them know about the issues. Get out on the ground. Engage with them and bring them out to the polls.”